Sunday, April 02, 2006

pastoral privilege

A great part of my work has been listening to people, in that particular intense privacy of confession, or at least unburdening, and it has been very interesting to me... seeing how well the two sides bring each other along, how much they can require of each other, how the life that is the real subject of it all is manifest in it... When people come to speak to me, whatever they say, I am struck by a kind of incandescence in them, the "I" whose predicate can be "love" or "fear" or "want," and whose object can be "someone" or "nothing" and it won't really matter, because the loveliness is just in that presence, shaped around "I" like a flame on a wick, emanating itself in grief and guilt and joy and whatever else. But quick, and avid, and resourceful. To see this aspect of life is a privilege of the ministry which is seldom mentioned.

The Reverend John Ames, in Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson


lorie said...

I loved this passage because it spoke to reward I feel as a counselor, being allowed to enter peoples' lives in this way. Very cool.

Beth said...

Wow, I didn't scroll down and see it was a quote until the very end, so I thought it WAS you saying that about being a counselor. I have that book and now you've motivated me to start it. How beautifully said that is. You know she's going to be at the Writer's Conference?

lorie said...

I only WISH I could write that well!!!

Yes, I knew she was going to be there, which is what motivated me to get the book. It's very good, but I need to come back to it and read it again after some time. It is a little subtle... but VERY well written.