Yesterday brought "new" friends, new experiences, and new laughter. This last week I was formally appointed to the position of Pagan Chaplain for Syracuse University. This is such an honor and an achievement beyond words. But this is also just the beginning of a wonderful new learning experience.
Yesterday was my first official Chaplains meeting. I was introduced to both old and new friends as the "new" chaplain. I know most of the chaplains, but most of them have not bothered to know me. It amazed and amused me who had taken the time to get to know the religious leaders/advisors and who had not. After all, I am the pagan who holds ritual on the quad, who would have thought that there would be official recognition of us! I did. I always did.
At some point I knew that this would happen, I just didn't know when. But back to the laughter. As the meeting progressed those that had not noticed me in the past nine years of my service now could not avoid me. Here I am with a seat at the table and enjoying every moment of it. I am not the only newbie this time--the new Dean is also in attendance. Tiffany is not officially the Dean unitl March 1, but it is always good to get a head start in a new job and after yesterday I think she really needs it! Not that she is not competent, not at all. Rather the early interaction will help her get a handle on the very diverse personalities that make up the Chaplancies of Syracuse University. And I felt for her. I have the luxury of being the "odd" religion and no one has any notion of what it is I am going to be doing. The evangelical minister told me he would be interested in getting to know what it is I believe cause he knows nothing about "pagan". That one surprised me.
And then it happened, the discussion turned to food. Not just any food, but the need for potlucks, breakfasts, luncheons, and other gatherings so that the Dean could get to know the diverse group that she had just been placed at the helm of. I didn't realize that other spiritual paths placed so much emphasis on breaking bread together! But wait, the other chaplains, well most of them, were laughing under their breath. There were snickers, chuckles and then the laughter began to grow. It wasn't the other paths, it was one man continually working in a meal for the group to be paid for by the new Dean! It was funny, almost to the point of being sublimely ridiculous. I couldn't believe it, here was a group of individuals from multiple spiritual paths in one room and it all boiled down to the desire of one man to feast. I love it. If we can get past the feeding of the body just think what we can do!
The next meeting will be interesting I'm sure, but it isn't for a bit. The semester should be an educational experience that at the moment I'm sure I can't even begin to fathom. I'll keep you posted, but in the meantime I think I'll have some lunch.