Neumann University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Don’t believe me?
Well, I got the weirdest email out of the blue from the director of my program in Pastoral Counseling at Neumann University. Out of the blue she asked me if I could write a 150 word paper about my bagpiping. I asked her what that was about, as I hadn’t seen that in the syllabus, and if she wanted it in APA format. Clearly my piping in front of the building had come to her attention in a good way.
She said she was putting the final touches on this month’s newsletter for the Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Direction Program (which goes out to the Neumann University community, particularly the faculty, staff, students, and alums), and she wanted something for it ASAP. So, I wrote it up, it came out to 368 words (Me? Concise?), so I thought I’d share it with you.The Pipes, the Pipes are Calling
Nathaniel S. Prentice, MSW, LCSW
Certificate of Advanced Studies in Pastoral Counseling Student
I was sitting there, transfixed. 500 pipers and drummers marched in front of me at an event at the New Hampshire Highland Games in Lincoln, NH, and I felt the thrill of listening to an old instrument that stirred my bones and was “just the right sound” for me. I then had the thought, “I’d love to do that someday.” That was followed by the thought, “They had to learn it somehow.”
11 years later, I have played for funerals, weddings, parades, concerts, and twice for Vice President Biden. I’m not the best bagpiper, but my band is pretty good. I enjoy being of service to others through the ministry of my music. In that moment, 11 years ago, I said, “Yes” to the option of stretching, and have benefitted as a result, as have others.
My music also plays a part in the therapy that I do with clients who come to see me. As a therapist, I am constantly challenging them to stretch emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Sometimes I tell them the story of how I made the decision to stretch and answer the call of the pipes as I challenge them to discern and to stretch in their own lives. I often suggest to them that if they are called to stretch and it won’t hurt them or others, that they should take on the challenge so that they can do the work of exploring the limits of meaning in their lives. It is a pleasure to see them when they learn how they can benefit.
As pastoral counselors and spiritual directors, we often find ourselves needing to stretch as well, when opportunities come our way, whether they be in the areas of education, job, family, or personal/spiritual areas. What music is calling to you in your day to day work? Will you, like Mary, say, “”May it be to me as you have said.” (Lk. 1:38) when you hear the musical lilt of Gabriel’s voice?
My point? Stretch yourself, as I did in my last post, and as long as it doesn’t hurt yourself or others, you will see a benefit in an increase in understanding of who you are as a person.