The last stanza of one of Robert Frost’s most famous poems is both support and challenge to my new vocation as an animal chaplain. The stanza goes like this:
“But yield who will to their separation,
my object in living is to unite
my avocation and my vocation
as my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
and the work is play for mortal stakes,
is the deed ever really done
for Heaven and the future’s sakes.”
Tomorrow, I will receive a certificate of completion for animal chaplain training through Compassion Consortium (https://www.compassionconsortium.org/training). As the program describes:
Animal chaplains provide support for both animals and humans by using ritual, ceremony, and the tools of spiritual companionship. Compassion Consortium’s Animal Chaplaincy Training helps you fulfill your heart’s call to honor and celebrate the lives of all species, including how to companion them through joys and challenges.
This six-month program was offered to:
- Healers and spiritual directors/mentors who’d like to expand their yoga, coaching, massage, therapy, reiki, veterinary, or spiritual counseling, or wellness practice to support animals and their humans through spiritual practices, rituals, and sacred listening
- People interested in diving deeper into the intersection of spirituality and science, such as the empirical evidence for improved health and wellness benefits of human-animal bonds
- Staff and volunteers working in animal shelters/sanctuaries, veterinary practices, humane education, or vegan advocacy who are interested in integrating spirituality and wellness into their organization
I’d like to think that I fit in all three categories above. Now that I’ve completed this part of the program, I will continue on for another 3+ months toward ordination in late June.
As Robert Frost referred to his role above, I hope to combine my author and animal shelter roles into one so that I may serve both animal and humans more effectively. Ultimately, my goal is to live up to the Compassion Consortium objective to “honor animal lives and heal human hearts.”
With the support of family & friends, not to mention Heaven and Mother Earth, may it be so.
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Thank you, Ana! 🙂
I think there are a lot of mute animal souls to which you will now give loving voice, and to whose needs you will give heed and uniquely minister.