The Fall Session of the Legislature ended 'early' last Thursday. By 'early' I mean it ended at noon instead of at 6 PM. It's been a long 7 weeks. One of the security staff said it looked like a fire drill as MLAs were hurrying to get to their cars in time to catch the 1 PM ferry. One member told me that he intentionally backs his vehicle in so that he can get a few second advantage lead on the way home.
I had the opportunity to speak with a retired MLA from another province early in the session. When he heard of my role as a chaplain, he described the work of an MLA as 'soul crushing'. I think it's a good description. It's a unique kind of work that can be tremendously rewarding while at the same time, be perpetually exhausting. It's soul crushing for a lot of reasons. The combination of workload, the stress from the unrelenting expectations, the separation from family and friends and the emotional drama of the politics can make you weary. Some days, it's beyond absurd. Just today, I visited with an MLA who told me she received recent criticism over the colour of her hair and in the past over her choice of wardrobe. Sometimes it's a bit hard to grasp why people pounce on the things that they do.
At the same time, there are some remarkable rewards. Last week a member showed me a Thank You card he received from a family he had been able to help. What made this card special was that he received a duplicate card that he was able to deliver to the Minister who assisted him. Nothing feels better than knowing you've made a genuine difference in someone's life.
This has been an incredible session for Leading Influence. Here are some highlights!
1) Every week, I met with a group of MLAs to pray and encourage one another in their faith.
2) Watching God answer the many prayers that we prayed week by week.
3) Every week, I had the opportunity to connect with a member that I had not met previously. I love being able to tell people that my only purpose in being there is to encourage and support them as they do their work. It's especially rewarding when they realize that I'm able to do it because many people partner together financially so it can happen.
4) God has opened some incredible doors of ministry into the lives of people He has added to my network at the Legislature.
5) Giving a 'welcome back' hug to an MLA who has overcome cancer in the past year and nearly died during treatment. We prayed often that God would heal him!
6) Being part of the MLA running group that runs rain or shine two mornings a week. It''s a phenomenal opportunity to journey along with members in a unique and non-threatening setting
7) Spending time with our new Chaplain in Alberta. Uve Knaak is doing a great job already!
8) Taking a minute to encourage a member of the security staff whose wife is undergoing cancer. I felt prompted to give him my card on the last day of the session and told him I would be praying for him and his wife. I'm expecting an incredible outcome!
9) Being asked why I still have a visitor pass when I should have a regular one because 'you live here'.
10) The privilege of pointing people who know and don't yet know Jesus towards the hope, love and life that He gives.