Jacqueline M. Pressey
Entry #17: Becoming a Lotus Flower!
During one of our InterFaith services, one of our chaplain residents introduced the lotus flower to us. From that moment of learning about the struggles of the lotus flower in the mud, was what made it so beautiful. Hence, even deeper, another interesting fact. This gorgeous lotus flower has many different spiritual meanings throughout various cultures. Yet one thing that is, consistent throughout the various cultures are the facts about this flower. The lotus flower has a unique characteristic "it is that the closed, or budded, lotus flower symbolizes man’s infinite possibilities. But when it is open on the other hand, it represents the creation of the universe". Every evening this beautiful flower returns into the dirty muddy waters and every morning it returns up above the water in its splendor and beauty never showing that it came up from out of the mud. Welcome to endless infinite possibilities from serving as a Hospital Chaplain. I have been a hospital chaplain for the past 8 years. It has been an absolutely maturing, spiritually developing, and awaking journey. And I want you to know that regardless of mine and/or your life's issues and challenges don't give up on your calling and/or service. You are doing a good work! Use every lesson good or bad to remind you of the calling that you said, “YES,” too. Make something good out of them, all! Perseverance and persistence in spite of circumstances can provide great opportunities for personal development, enrichment and achieving new accomplishments that will have deep, inspiring meaningful moments of life lessons for one to share when inspiring and ministering to others.
So, here's a bit of background history of how I became a hospital chaplain. I had been a assistant college campus chaplain for over 5 years before becoming a hospital chaplain. Eight years ago, actually March 5th, 2013 at the peak of my academic career I was having a blast, all parts of me were in full operation. I was about to closeout my doctorate, I was singing all over the world, and seeking my dream job in student affairs leadership once I graduated, or so I thought. Yet one day in 2013, while teaching a dance class I slipped and fell. That day ended who I once was physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was seriously injured and partially disabled. After many months/years of multiple surgeries, learning how to walk again more than once, and bearing chronic pain. I had to face reality, I had to learn to do things differently. I had to grow to accept who I was now, which was one of the most difficult heart-wrenching transforming processes, ever. It was during my recovery that the Lord, called me into serving as a hospital chaplain (screaming and crying by the way). I must admit I was so upset about it at first, but then I realized it was helping more than I knew. In helping others, it helped me not to focus on my own pain, despair, and depression that came with my life transforming injuries. And it did just that, it forever changed me. It’s so crazy, today, I always say that I like me better, now!
In the mist of my recovery all that had been lost during that 2013 fall. Well, it's taking me approximately, 17 years. Within the miracles and the valuable time of the pandemic for me to finish and closeout my doctorate. Which included a very personal and passionate dissertation entitled, "SPIRITUALITY AND LEADERSHIP: A STUDY OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE CHIEF STUDENT AFFAIRS OFFICERS AND THEIR PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES AS IT RELATES TO THREE SPIRITUALITY FOCI" (2021). The three foci that I examined were purpose/meaning in life, beliefs, and connectedness to each other in this world. Regardless of how long it has taken me to finish, it was in His perfect timing, master plan, and then He restored it. I have finished strong and I am now in a new academic arena that I have always wanted to be in and I am so excited! So, if you are willing to push through your own personal life's obstacles, struggles, and pursue your own purpose in life (what you were meant/born to do). Then just do it. For me, I was born to be BORN, again!!!
He makes all things new, in His time! What I felt about my injuries and what God felt about using my injuries were different. The bottom line I had to catch up to how God saw me because He uses all things for our good and His Glory. He saw value in my circumstance even when I didn’t. There have been countless times where I was able to comfort, understand, and pray for patients using my own personal memories and experiences from my days of injury and recovery. I been embraced, hugged, and hands held weeping because of the intercession, empathy, and compassionate connection from our intimate conversations that reached them spiritually. All because, I became a spiritual lotus flower. Will you become one, too?
Here’s a sneak preview, “The Model Maker!” Until next time.
For the sake of the Chaplain’s healing Call!
Chaplain Jacqueline M Pressey, Ed.D.