GraceNotes: Holding the Space for … Reflection

#25 — May 1, 2014

Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.

— Helen Keller

Welcome, Inspired Seekers:

Were you a good student? Well, it might have depended upon the day. Or the subject. Or the teacher. Some lessons are easier to learn than others — especially if there is pain involved or, at the very least, if we are uncomfortable. And yet, throughout all great faith traditions, the message of living through the dis-ease is apparent.

In the Old Testament, Jonah had to learn his lessons in the belly of a whale — and that makes me squirm just thinking about it! In the New Testament, Peter learned his faith lesson as he denied Christ “before the cock crows.” Unnerving. And Buddhism suggests that we bring ourselves the suffering we need in order that we may learn and awaken. Isn’t there an easier way? Well, sometimes, honestly … no.

How many times does it seem that we are facing the same problem, repeatedly, and the only differences are the characters and the situations that frame the problem? Could it be that we are reluctant learners? Could it be that we race so quickly away from the trouble, the awkwardness, the discomfort, that we miss the lesson we are supposed to learn? And could it be that by learning that lesson, we move to a new level of understanding, compassion and wholeness?

Those are just a few of the lessons I am learning as I pursue the new role of chaplaincy. And nothing will teach that lesson better than the gut-wrenching pain of a trauma bay. Sitting in the discomfort, sharing moments of great pain, being fully present in the most intimate moments of the human experience are teaching me great lessons — and most are difficult to learn. But, I am growing and unfolding and, hopefully, learning to be of greater service.

Now, you might not have to be in a life-and-death situation to learn. You might just experience a tug, a pull, or an uncomfortable pang in the middle of a conversation or an encounter. I invite you to sit with it, experience it and take it in fully. Who knows, you might just learn something wonderful!

Grace-Fully Yours,
Reverend Deborah

Monthly Affirmation: I am open to learning all of the lessons given to me. I am protected in my discomfort.

Spring is a season of celebration! If you are planning a wedding, commitment ceremony or other sacred ritual and would like your event to be completely customized, give Reverend Deborah a call at 215 260 1611 or email her at and she will gladly listen to your heart’s desire.