Sunday, September 20, 2015

NSW (Day 7) IPCA VII On Being Known... and Not Knowing Your Future...

Lord Byron once said, "What is fame? The advantage of being known by people of whom you yourself know nothing, and for whom you care as little."  Harsh words, but I was drawn to them for the first part of the phrase... If fame is about being known by people of whom you know nothing that I never want a part of it...

Let me explain.

For the past years I have served as the manager of the International Prison Chaplains Association website.  I was responsible, on a regular basis for communicating with over 1,500 prison Chaplains around the world.  They got to know my name.  I am sure that some of them even set up spam filters to keep my name out of their inbox... the point being, anywhere I go these days during the conference people know me... and while I know myself, I don't know my future as it may relate to IPCA in the future.  Right now it looks pretty bleak.  And that makes me extra sad when so many people know me and my deep commitment to this work...

And so... much of my time in conversation with other delegates is spent telling the story of how I got to where I am today... and the story my own uncertain future in relation to prison chaplaincy.

The theme of this conference is "Telling Our Story" and the story of KPC Inc. has been all consuming for me for the past number of years... it is an awkward place to be... to be so known for your commitment to this important work... and so uncertain about what you know about the future of your connection to the work... and so... I pause.  Pause and listen to the double edged question so aptly posed by Parker Palmer:

"What do you want to let go off and what do you want to give yourself to?"

Some may see it as a cop out... but I see it as being fully authentic: I want to let go of yesterday and give myself fully to today... for today is all we really have.

And so for today:

  • I will tell my story, the story of my deep commitment to prison chaplaincy as fully and authentically as I can.  
  • I will speak truth as I know it, in as respectful a manner as possible so as to contribute to the greater good.
  • I will listen deeply to the stories of those with whom I share the journey and seek to honour and establish meaningful connections.
  • I will offer my knowledge, wisdom and skills to the community I am part of in a small effort to contribute to the making of a better world, and
  • I will be open to what tomorrow may bring... 

... on the Sabbath Road...

PS... and yes, I am going to climb into this tree and revel in its strength and beauty before I leave this place!!

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