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What I learned in chaplain school

My story ran today about my three-month sabbatical in Chicago at Rush University Medical Center in its chaplaincy internship program.

Here's what I'd like to highlight here. The importance of understanding your vocation (or vocations) in life. From the article:

People are not their roles

I left Spokane a journalist. The next week, I was Chaplain Becky. Moving from journalist to chaplain to journalist once again feels disconcerting, but I am heartened by the wisdom of Clayton Thomason, the chairman of the religion, health and human values department at Rush. He spoke eloquently in class one day about the difference between roles and vocations.

“The theologian Frederick Buechner defines vocation as ‘the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need,’ ” Thomason summarized in a recent email. “A vocation is that path in life which calls us out of ourselves, to that place where our gladness meets the world’s need.”

Some people express their vocations in their careers. Others through roles they play in people’s lives as family members and friends. Speaking of family and friends, keep in touch with yours. You’ll need them when you’re sick or dying. Patient rooms were often crowded with loved ones and close friends, but I rarely saw their coworkers or bosses.

Where does your deep gladness meet the world's deep need?

(Tony Wadden photo)

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Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

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