Observing my mother growing up - her long hours working a physically demanding job, her sacrificial intent to make sure that my sister and I didn’t lack the basic needs of life-nothing ever came easy, and starting from scratch in a new country must have been the hardest obstacle for her.
Some months ago a ministerial colleague, knowing that I am a licensed clinical social worker, mentioned to me that our denominational judicatory needed to get involved with “Emotional First Aid.” I pleaded ignorance and admitted that I had never heard of it. So this same colleague touted its concept stating it was a technique that she had been training in and that she thought had applications for training lay counselors in churches.
We are already two weeks into the seven weeks of the season of Lent that leads up to the celebration of Easter, according to the Christian calendar. Clearly, I speak from the perspective of a Christian minister as I write this. However, from the perspective of a clinical social worker, I would suggest that the concept of being penitent and reflective exists in other world religions.
As a person of faith who is committed to work towards the end of the violence that is still perpetrated against people of color, or against people of other religions, or against people with alternative sexual identities, I stand with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in working to root out injustice, but in a peaceful manner.
I have found that there are two kinds of responses to Valentine’s Day. The responses are I imagine more based on personality style—there are the romantics and the pragmatists. There are those persons who are romantics and love showering their loved ones with gifts. Then there are those pragmatists who think that the whole day is really a rather ridiculous because you can tell your loved ones everyday that they are loved and you don’t need Hallmark to tell you that.
One year ago, I was sitting on the plane, returning home from one of the most mind-bending and faith-stretching experiences that I have ever had. I am coming back from my first Christian Medical and Dental Association/Global Health Outreach (www.cmda.org) trip to Managua, Nicaragua. The team was at the House of Hope (www.houseofhopenicaragua.org).
On a weekly basis, starting today, I will post a blog that speaks to the intersection of mental health and religion/spirituality. I have been a practicing pastoral counselor for more than thirty years, with dual masters degrees in social work and divinity (degree for preparation of ordained protestant ministry).