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A Message from APC President...



APC President Joseph Perez MDiv BCC
 

APC Forum, April 2020, Vol. 22 No. 3

Dear Colleagues and Friends,
 
As we continue to walk through this Covid-19 pandemic together, the uncomfortable feeling of fear (and its cousins - anxiety, nervousness and worry) is real to our human experience, as well as for our interdisciplinary colleagues. So, when fear (and cousins) comes, how do we as holistic people manage our lives? I’ve been dialoguing about this frequently where I serve. My hope is to support our health care professional team members and chaplains, as well as myself, to live into these days. I am amazed how holistic care, at its best, is reciprocal; and this valuable learning has been deepened from our current experience.
 
When a team member shares their fear with me, I begin by honoring the person and their feeling and affirming that fear is a reality for all of us. After this acknowledgement, we are free to converse about how fear motivates one’s actions; recognizing it is a source of energy which creates a response to the discomfort.  Fear, I confess here, usually makes for selfish decisions. At this point I lead towards an alternative way rather than allowing fear to guide one’s life.  Therefore, I frame the discussion to consider this premise: that fearful holistic people choose to turn their attention to their ultimate values (faith, hope, love...) to guide them during anxious times.  These values grant them (all of us) an opportunity to practice an honored character trait that cannot be practiced without fear — courage. And I thank our team members routinely for having courage to serve in this environment where everyone’s safety is at risk. John O’Donohue reminds us, in his blessing “The Morning Offering”, to call for courage as we step into each day.
 

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.
May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.
 

May we look to our values in times of fear and practice courage!

Joseph Perez MDiv BCC is the Vice President for Mission & Ministry at Valley Baptist Health System in Harlingen & Brownsville, TX. He serves as President of the APC Board and may be contacted at president@professionalchaplains.org.