In February of this new year, 2011, I will have been serving the Dane County Jail and community as chaplain for nine years. It has been nearly a decade of learning and struggling to understand the challenges women face with addiction and mental health care that is most often the road to incarceration. Underlying this is the issue of trauma and the long term affects. This year I will be focussing on spiritual care and trauma in workshops and study. I enter this endeavor prayerfully, anticipating that this will be enlightening but also difficult. The majority of women I do ministry with are victims of trauma; incest, rape, domestic violence. It is painful to realize the number of times I have heard the words, "I've never told anyone this before...", during individual spiritual care.
The light of hope that shines for me is the growing awareness in the wider culture for care of trauma vicitims. Providing a safe place to remember and tell the stories begins the healing process. As one woman shared, "Reflection reminds me of where I never want to be again".
Hopefully this blog reflection will deepen my ministry. Please keep us in your prayers.