cost of listening rises

This week I again had the opportunity to speak at the annual Memorial and Dedication Service which “commemorates all people who bequeathed their bodies to medical science and dedicates students to the study of anatomy”. It’s a formal occasion, held in Bonython Hall at Adelaide University. Students of the Health Professions from the three universities are required to attend, one of the Professors of Anatomy, and a student from each of the universities, speak of their experience of anatomy. Then, after a musical interlude there are four religious speakers, each having a different brief – mine to address the families and friends of those who had denoted their bodies to science.

Afterwards there is a cup of tea and a chance to chat and mingle. The solemnity is broken.
I found myself talking with a person who was touched by what I had said. He had recently lost his wife to cancer.
Once again I was reminded of that most basic of human needs, to have a friend. He was telling me that all his friends seemed to have deserted him – no-one it seemed was prepared to listen to his grief and to hang in with him. Grief, like mental illness, seems too affronting.

There is a cost to being a listener. In a sped-up world maybe there’s a hidden inflation – the cost of listening may be getting prohibitive!
In this regard, a better wordsmith than I might be able to make more of the relationship of inflation to depression!

A copy of my address is at http://www.flinders.edu.au/religiouscentre/multifaith_chaplaincy/uniting.php

Additions to Flinders Multifaith Chaplaincy
We are delighted to welcome two new chaplains Dr Carl Vidavella Belle (Hindu) and Tich Thong Phap (Buddhist) to the team. Personally, their thoughtful, open and enthusiastic contributions to chaplaincy have given me a huge lift!
In May we sadly say farewell to Rabbi Dr Patti Kopstein (and husband Rabbi David) who are moving to Hong Kong for two years. More later.

Our Big News!
A discussion with Muslim colleague Dr Abul Farooque in January about outbreaks of racism and inter-religious violence and news of the visit to Adelaide by Christian theologian Prof. Chris Stanley has led Flinders Multifaith Chaplaincy to propose a public symposium and forum on religion and violence. It will be held at Sturt Theatre, Flinders University from 2-9 pm on Sunday May 28. We have formed a working partnership with the Flinders Institute of International Education to get this off the ground. More news as it develops!

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