By Rev. Susan Halvor
After months of pandemic ministry as a hospital chaplain and manager of a spiritual care department, I was weary and craving connection – to colleagues, to the Spirit, to my own heart. My days in the hospital were long and busy, filled with too much change and uncertainty, with concern, with heavy burdens and caring for people who were suffering – patients, their loved ones, and our hospital caregivers.
When I saw Kaitlin’s invitation to join a Thriving Leadership group, it felt like the right thing at the right time – an opportunity to connect with colleagues, and try some spiritual practices.
I’m glad I said yes. Thriving Leadership provided an opportunity to slow down and listen deeply, while getting to know some of my peers better – both new connections and re-establishing old connections. Because we met virtually, we were able to connect across the state, which was a gift. I’m not sure I learned anything new in our time together, but this set-apart time provided the opportunity to breathe, to strengthen relationships, and to be reminded of the many options I have for “filling my cup.” Our time together allowed me to reflect and explore the workings of my heart, and God’s presence and activity in my life. Honestly I feel like my participation in this group slowed the rate of emotional spiritual decay I had been feeling in my ministry.
Months later, still deep in the pandemic and looking back on the Thriving Leadership experience, I’m weary (again? still?) but feeling more connected to colleagues and more able to find my way back to the living waters that nurture and sustain me. Some days that may be through centering prayer or meditation, and deep listening to scripture or poetry, while others it may be art or journaling or movement, bringing me back to my heart and God’s heart. I’m much more likely now to reach out to a friend or colleague on those soul-weary days. And I’m much more certain that I’m not alone.
Rev. Susan Halvor is a board-certified chaplain and manager of spiritual Care at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska. She is a 2000 graduate of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and loves spending time outdoors on Alaska’s lakes, trails and mountains.