This summer I want to take some time to understand my story. I was inspired by my galvanizing experience attending The Power of Storytelling at United Theological Seminary. I believe that a key piece of my ministry with woman at the jail is helping them to feel safe enough to understand their story. It may even mean that they discover the power to change their story from one of suffering, living in an oppressed place (Keynote speaker, Valerie Tutson), to one of hope. In listening to my own story I hope to envision the support I will need, such as Clinical Pastoral Education, to continue to deepen and develop this ministry.
How does one unlock the stories of intergenerational grief? Could we incorporate narrative community conversations to assist in restorative justice and recovery? What of your story do you want me to know? How can I be of assistance? These are questions that arose in my workshops for myself and the women I serve. I purchased the book Counseling Women by Christie Neuger, a well-respected voice in the field of Pastoral Theology and Counseling to assist me in the task of pondering these questions.
The most important insight I took with me is especially applicable to the women I work with who are so often scorned and cast aside by their families and communities because of the choices they are making. It is sometime too easy to forget that there are deep seated reasons for those choices of desperation. They are themselves cries for help. The insight is, the problem is the problem; the person is not the problem.
Peace & gratitude, Julia