Six years ago today my dad died. It’s an event in my calendar like a birthday. I guess when it doesn’t seem important to remember I’ll remove it. A couple of hours after I found out he died I went to class. I ran into my Kierkegaard professor outside of the room. He asked how I was, not knowing my news.
I told him, “I just found out my dad died.”
He said, “I’m so sorry. Want to skip class?”
I said, “Nah.”
He said, “Okay, well let’s go in.”
He put his hand on my shoulder and sort of steered me into the room and treated me like a normal student during the period. He nodded to me as I left the room when class was over.
A few days later my news somehow made its way to someone in the administration and then that person emailed the entire school about it. Not great. What I found out is that you don’t want several hundred pastors in training to find out something painful happened. This is what I would describe as a worst case scenario.
Couple days after the email went out a friend who was not studying to be a pastor saw me and simply gave me a big hug and kept walking. This hug and the interaction with my professor were more healing and human than the contrived “pastoral care” BS that many other students tried out on me.
Whatever field you go into, don’t let them train the humanity out of you. Resist jargon at all costs. Listen or speak, ask questions or share your own story, be a silent presence or a busy distraction.
Whatever you do, be human.