Sometimes people surprise you. Tonight I had a bit of a conversation with my Dad; we figured out some things, put some things under the bridge, and although we both said some things that hurt, we both came out for it better. I’m grateful for that. I’ve long had a problem in talking to him about my intentions for my schooling.
I’m not just going into Counseling for my MA because I want to do it for myself. I’m doing it for the Pagan community as a Shaman and Priest. Part of my calling to serve the Pagan community is to do so in a more professional capacity, and to do that, I need to be educated. I want to provide counseling services that do not make people of minority religions like ours ‘feel crazy’, but accepted, when explaining/integrating their spirituality into their healing process. I also want the tools needed to be a more effective pastoral counselor, though I do have some years of practice at that already. So I’m grabbing up the books I can find while doing my coursework, working my way through books like The Pagan Book of Living and Dying by Starhawk, M. Macha NightMare and the Reclaiming Tradition, and have read books like The Pagan Clergy’s Guide for Counseling, Crisis Intervention and Otherworld Transitions by Kevin Gardner, and similarly-minded books. In reading these books, doing the coursework, and helping people as they ask for help, I am fulfilling my call as Shaman and Priest.
Dad’s reaction to this was very simple and straightforward: “I don’t agree with your religion, but is what you’re doing making you happy? You are fulfilling a call…I may not agree with you to whom that call is being answered, but you are answering a call.” The way he said it didn’t seem to imply I was answering Satan, but in his view, perhaps, serving God in another way. He seemed, on the whole, though disagreeing with my religion, supportive.
I breathed a sigh of relief. I had freaked out and tried to rehearse this conversation several times, in anticipation of deep disagreements, maybe an argument, for nothing. So, I’m feeling much more at peace than I was, and much more collected and sure of myself in my calling, not so much because I ‘placed myself’ with my Dad, so much as reaffirmed why I am doing what I am doing, and that it is important more to-the-point, to someone who matters in my life. Thanks Dad; you’ve helped me more than I can say.