pastoral/spiritual care

Many Roles, One You

“This above all, to thine own self be true.”  --William Shakespeare

We all play so many roles in a typical day.  In the course of twenty-four hours, you may be a spouse, a parent, a friend, a customer, a driver, a passenger, an employee, a colleague, a child, a sibling, a teacher, a learner, an athlete, a spectator, a critic, a counselor, a provider, a consumer, and so many more.  You are most likely more comfortable in some of these roles than in others, and chances are there is one in which you feel completely at home, like the best possible version of yourself.  It is a joy to play that role, and we often invest a lot of time trying to bring traits of it into the other roles we all must play.

But what about when life forces an unexpected role change on us?  What happens when the child must become the caretaker for the parent?  How does it feel for the nurse or doctor to suddenly become the patient?  For the friend who loves to do favors for everyone else to become the one in need of a big favor?  Such reversals can be very hard to handle, and leave us questioning not only what our role is, but who we are.

The challenge is to find the unshakeable core of who God created us to be, our very essence.  What are the things we can say for sure about ourselves no matter what the circumstances?  Maybe it is true that you are no longer able to be in control of your situation as you once felt, but perhaps you can find that the strength you admired about that persona is still very much present within you.  You may feel lonely now that you are separated from family members, but recognize that you are still someone who is loved and loving.  It is amazing how the worst in life often brings out the best in us, and we are able to see, perhaps more clearly than ever, who we truly are.

Our God, thank you for the beauty you put into each one of us.  Help us to see the most essential aspects of our personalities, and to find ways to nurture those gifts you put into us.  You have given us strength greater than we realize, so that the heart of who we are is safe in you.  Amen.

-- Chaplain Stacy N. Sergent


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