Playing Doctor

Say “Ahhhh!” my nearly three-year-old daughter says peering down the imaginary throat of her teddy bear. “Pretty good! Now, let me get the telescope!” Of course she means stethoscope, as she listens to the stuffed animal’s heart. Playing doctor is one of her favorite games these days as she examines the eyes, ears, nose, hands, and feet and especially if it’s a real person, asking us to take a deep breath. Lately, the veins in our arms and legs have fascinated her. “That’s blood!” she declares.

Peter and I depart tomorrow for a Healthy Congregations facilitator training in St. Paul, Minnesota. This seminar designed for leaders to nurture religious communities no doubt will offer useful tools for our ministry and consulting work with congregations.

My prayer for our religious communities is that we bring the same enthusiasm to them as playing doctor. Let’s engage in routine check-ups instead of waiting for a problem to become severe or chronic. Let’s foster a holy curiosity about what makes our institutions function and be ready to try out new ideas. Above all, let’s remind one another to take a deep breath and create joyful ways to be together!