My week this week has involved a couple of different hospital systems. Each time I find myself wandering aimlessly in the hospital halls, I inevitably run into hospital staff and doctors all of whom are extremely helpful. None of the people I encounter in the hospital doubt or question whether I am minister (although I do think the ID badge that I obtained shortly after I was called to pastor that reads CLERGY across the bottom helps).
What I have noticed in these visits, is that among my fellow CLERGY badge wearers, I am different, very different. Not only am I a different gender, but I am also much younger than them. It is hard at times to consider yourself a colleague to people who you don’t know and whose ideas about women in ministry you don’t know because you don’t know whether you will be accepted or not.
In the hospital it’s different. Most people are welcoming of someone to sit with them during crisis and just be. Age doesn’t matter. Gender doesn’t matter. Biblical interpretation doesn’t matter. At the point of crisis, being human together trumps all these other concerns.
But for those of us who are going to see those in crises, does the same hold true? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to share the experience of being the one who bears the weight of other people’s burdens no matter whether we agree theologically or not? Couldn’t we agree that the work we do is hard work and that we need others who understand the journey of being called?
I hope that’s possible.
Today, I started to make that hope into a reality with a smile and a “hey.” Next time, maybe I’ll introduce myself and ask what their stories are. I know I would have lots to learn from them even if they don’t look anything like me.