- How do you answer the question shared from the chaplaincy student, “Why bother to get out of bed?”
- In what ways do you notice yourself as the subject of the story – as the actor? In what ways do you consider yourself as the object of the story – as the acted upon?
- Who helps you not give up prematurely? Who helps you recognize when to let go?
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. - Luke 18:1 (NIV)
One of my students in a chaplaincy course this spring was a 70-year-old psychoanalyst considering transitioning to a chaplaincy role. She said to the class at the height of the Covid-19 crisis, “I woke up this morning and said to myself, ‘Why bother to get out of bed?’”
She did get out of bed, showed up to tele-meet her first patient, and took a kind of counselor’s risk: “I took my first patient and she said to me, ‘How are you doing?’ And I told her I woke up this morning wondering why bother? Then of course I turned the question on her. “Why did you wake up this morning?’”
“She said, ‘So I could talk to you.’” That response kept my mature student going.
Sometimes we give up prematurely. Sometimes we hang on too long. Sometimes we over function. Sometimes it is just hard to function.
Sometimes we do too much. Sometimes we do too little. When Covid-19 is all gone and but a faint memory, I wonder what story we will tell about ourselves.
O God, help us be the subject of the story we tell about ourselves and not its object. And let us surely receive the gifts others make to our stories. And never to be afraid of our weakness. And never to stop bothering. Amen.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.