In studying pastoral care we talk about the power of narrative in making sense of the human experience. At any given point our senses perceive millions of actions all taking place in the span of a mere moment. In order to understand who we are in the midst of this chaos, we tell ourselves stories. These stories can serve to help us make sense of deeply traumatic events and find peace or mire us in our feelings of disappointment, loss, or sadness.
“I am a fighter; I always have been,” one woman told me as we discussed some painful events of her childhood. Her narrative is one of survival and strength. She makes sense of what has happened to her by understanding herself through this lens.
Stories are incredibly powerful. I will always love studying literature because it is one of the only mediums that has the power to transcend the boundaries of individual human experience. Stories create a place of mutual empathy with the other. With creative words and descriptive images, we are drawn into the lives of those whom we might not otherwise know.
As another semester of school saunters to a close, I brace myself for all of the new characters I will meet in the upcoming chapter of my story. This January I am moving to Oxford, England to be with my fiancé, Brian, and participate in a ministerial training program at a hospital. I will be spending 400 hours practicing and learning about pastoral care in a clinical setting. There is much to look forward to and much writing to be done.
Dear friends, I conclude this first entry by reiterating the Tennyson quote that frames not only this blog but also my life: I am a part of all that I have met. As I seek to make sense of the unraveled world whose margin fades forever and forever as I move, I cherish those all too brief encounters with the places, people, and events that deeply inform who I am. They are my story, my self, and my life. Welcome.