At the end of March, I switched roles from being a full time chaplain to a neighborhood leader of a memory care area at a retirement community. I’ve always been someone who leads from the side lines, and tries to empower others to make wise choices. I took this love, because I love caring for folks with cognitive challenges and walking with their family and friends; one of my challenges has been leading and supervising the care givers. I did not take on this job, because I wanted to be Health Service Administrator, but so I could grow as a pastor in my skills of administration and leadership.
I recently met with the executive director of my work place, and he handed a book called The Heart Led Leader by Tommy Spaulding. I am hoping spirituality and leadership can mix. The last few months have been both amazing in that I get to still build relationships and use my chaplain skills to care for residents, team members, and family members that are dealing with loss and grief. I also get to pray with folks, and sing songs with folks while I play my ukulele. All of the relational pieces of this job seems familiar and come natural to me, but things like scheduling, disciplining people when they consistently call out, and over seeing three different shifts has been a bit overwhelming.
A friend of mine one day stopped and told me, I think I know how to describe your job and said, “you’re like a small church pastor, you do a little bit of everything” I think her description was fitting, and I am thinking of running our household/neighborhood (the term we use instead of saying memory care unit) as if I am running a church. I realize that I’ve not given appropriate attention to the 11pm-7am team, and hope to earn their trust and lead with a heart.
I guess leading with the heart does not mean that I do not hold people accountable, and challenge them to correct things that are harmful to themselves, to the folks we care for, and to other team members. I hope that slowly over time that we can change are culture to be less institutional and be more like a home, or a little community…a neighborhood. I hope to develop this further in my future posts, and reflect on ways in which I can be grounded in a loving God, so I don’t loose sight of why I am in this role in the first place.
I want to apologize for my long absence, I lost my creative steam after I finished my 90 days of meditation and 90 poem series. I was at a loss to what to write about.
I am not sure how many of my followers actually read my blog, but I wanted to commit to my readers whoever you may be that I will not write a regular post on Sundays, and a shorter poem, work of visual art, poem, or photography on Wednesdays.
I would greatly appreciate comments and feedback, so I can get to know you. I originally started this blog to address spiritual seekers who were lost and feeling lonely in our current time and culture. I will actually write on this theme, after I complete this post.
I would be happy to correspond or write on these that you might suggest. I thrive in creative dialogue, but regardless…I will continue to write on larger themes that move my heart on Sundays. On Wednesdays, I will try to post something visual or poetic that corresponds with either the previous theme, or a new topic or theme I am mulling over.
In the Light,
empires rise and empires fall,
but my love for you remains
online blogging is for the dedicated few
my love for you is only sporadic
it comes in spurts
and when least expected
your gentle touch greeted me into this world
your heart beat comforted me
your voice was familiar in this strange world
you kept me safe
your love enfolded me even before I was born
I did not have the words or concept of mother
but you were my first love
you loved me as God loves
love that just was
love freely given
love freely received
i keep falling into you
no matter how far i run
Here comes an end to my meditation poems series, even though I didn’t get to do 90 continuous days…I was able to recommit to my sitting practice and get back into writing poems. I am not sure what I will do next on this blog. I write for the sake of writing, but sometimes I wonder if what I write and put out into the universe really matters; when these dark thoughts hit me, I write anyway. So here is to creating in spite of self-doubt, hopelessness, and depression. Here is to walking the spiritual path, when your mind turns against you. I keep coming back to my cushion and to pen and paper, or in this case the keyboard. I stop listening to my brain, and take right actions, which in this case is to create when I want to give up, do nothing, and just remain in a state of non-action. But here I am, writing despite my current thoughts and feelings, because my own experience has taught me that “this too shall pass.” I take refuge in the three jewels: the darhama, sangaha, and the buddha. I rest in the mystery of the Triune God. I am a living paradox, beyond any religious categories or roles.
Meditation Poem #90
last poetic words
just the beginning
of an endless journey