A new chaplain joined the organization where I spend my days working for the Quality department and serving as the Infection Preventionist. I am a bit skittish when it comes to religious people but so far, he has proven to be more spiritual than religious. We have had some good conversations and shared pieces of our respective histories. Everyone has a story.
In part, he is more spiritual than religious because of his experiences with fundamentalists. I used to be one, kind of. I knew the buzz words and phrases and tried to swallow the ultra-narrow doctrine. Ultimately, fundamentalism and I parted ways. As is often the case with humans who tire of being pounded into shapes foreign to their inward truths, the pendulum swung the other way. I have since settled into my inward truth.
Everyone has their own style, their unique way of approaching life, the world, God, and spirituality. Our former chaplain was a decent guy, I suppose – I didn’t know him well, but every morning when he delivered his message and offered a prayer, it felt like he was preaching at us vs. sharing with us. He spoke as if he stood on a higher plane than the rest of us. The current chaplain stands on the plane with us. He doesn’t seem to consider himself the expert on all things Biblical, or regarding life, for that matter. And that is the point, isn’t it? None of us is higher than another? We are all in the same boat, so to speak, navigating our way through life as best we can. I respect one’s right to hold strong religious beliefs. But, that doesn’t mean one has the right to insist I believe as they do. I don’t insist others share my beliefs. Let’s face it, no one has it all figured out.
The chaplain has been talking about inclusivity of late, thanks to our organization’s commitment to inclusivity and January’s celebration of Martin Luther King Day. Regardless of where one stands on Martin Luther King, his dream was about equality, about inclusivity. The older I get the more personally I take the hastily spoken words of those who don’t believe in equality, those who don’t believe in inclusivity, rather believing they have the right to tear down another because of the color of one’s skin, gender, or sexual orientation.
I long for a kinder, gentler world. A world where we don’t judge others before we know them. A world where we see past the flesh and into the spirit of others. We would certainly see and hear God more often if we viewed the spirit and set aside the flesh. Our differences are on the outside. In the end, we are all the same where it counts…..