By David Lichter
It was quite a 2014 NACC Conference, and we missed all of you who were not able to make it. Our final plenary session, given by Mr. Chris Lowney, stressed that all of us exercise important leadership, and we need to embrace it for the sake of those we serve and with whom we serve.
Chris, who currently chairs the board of the Catholic Health Initiatives, offered the following questions for us to consider and discern where our spiritual care leadership is needed. I know our members are working on some of them within their systems, but it is good to view them. Can our profession take the lead on these?
We have a spirituality of illness and healing, but what about the spirituality of keeping ourselves and others healthy?
- How do we develop the “spiritual handoffs” from primary to acute to post-acute care?
- How do we ensure that the newly insured feel welcomed and accompanied?
- How do we ensure spiritual support within tech-enabled diagnosis and patient management?
- Can we create a “continuum of spirituality” to complement the “continuum of care”?
- Is our staff being sufficiently “accompanied” through all this change?
Chris then provided thoughts on leadership to help us lead the way.
- “Fear is not a good counselor” Pope Francis
- “Do you touch the hand … or merely toss the coin?” Pope Francis
- “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day saying… ‘I will try again tomorrow.’ ” Mary Anne Radmacher
- “Getting comfortable with the reality of being uncomfortable” a military leader regarding preparing new trainees
- “My greatest enemy was not those who put me or kept me in prison. It was myself. I was afraid to be who I am.” Nelson Mandela
I hope these might be helpful to you. They are for me. A passage from I Peter (3:15-18), contains one of my favorite lines: “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence.”
As I left the conference, I was filled with hope; a hope that has not waned. You, our members, are a great source of hope because of your deep faith, your love of the Lord, your passion for this ministry, your compassion for those whom you serve and with whom you serve. God will continue to lead us, inspire us, and give us the courage to continue to be the compassionate leaders we need to be.