Who's the architect of your roller coaster?

Last Modified: 5/22/2018

Enjoy this monthly post from Patrick Riecke, director, Chaplaincy and Volunteer Services.

Sometimes you hear people say they are, “standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before them”. By that, they mean that without the hard work, ingenuity, faith, determination or sacrifice of those whose birthdates predate their own, the doors would not be open for them to do what they are doing.

Sometimes you know you are standing on the shoulders of others. Sometimes, you don’t.

I am one of those annoying people who really love their job. Parkview is a great place to work (and I’m not just saying that because my blog might not get posted otherwise). I really resonate with our values of improving the health and well-being of our community members. Our opportunities as a non-profit to reinvest in our community and offer excellent care to every person, every day, make it easy to be loyal to my employer. But, there’s more to why I love what I do.

First of all, I feel that my chaplains and I are really making a difference in the world. Chaplains, as we say, often meet people on the worst day of their lives. Maybe their mom just died. Or their baby. Or grandpa. Maybe they have been told they have cancer and they are going to die. Perhaps our patient that day was shot or stabbed, or was in a rollover car accident. Maybe they had a heart attack, stroke or overdosed.

Being a compassionate presence in such horrific situations is the most rewarding thing I can imagine doing, surpassed only by my ability to cheer on my chaplains, who are truly experts at this care.

Secondly, Parkview has given me the opportunity to begin an initiative to reach out to local clergy. We recently hosted our first luncheon for 150 local clergy members, and we have more opportunities planned with big goals. Roger Reece, Executive Pastor, Associated Churches and Curtis Smith are my partners in this initiative. Helping clergy come together, honoring them for their work, and making connections within the larger religious society can only improve our community.

All this has made me ask—how did I end up here? Sometimes I look at another person’s life and it looks like a straight line, from one point to another, by my own life looks (and feels) more like a roller coaster. Many of our lives, while we are living them, seem like a series of ups and downs; a swirling and looping ride that always seems to end up in the same place where it started.

Recently, I started to wonder … Who built my roller coaster? And who put the wheels on the track? And who pulled the lever to put it all in motion? Sure, I’m the one who waited in line and got on the ride. But I’m not here totally because of my own choices. I stand on the shoulders of others.

On whose shoulders do you stand? Who do you owe your life to? Your mission to? Who do you owe your career, talent, character to? Sure, you waited in line and got on the ride. But you are not here entirely because of your own choices. You stand on the shoulders of others.

My next five blog posts on the Parkview Dashboard will be dedicated to five people who have gotten me to where I am today. I have only met three of the five. Two are black and three are white. Only one is still living and she is 79 years old. Three died way too young. One person you will all know and the other four are more personal. Three women, two men, and absolutely zero partridges in a pear tree. Some came as a surprise to me and others are glaringly obvious.

As I prepare to share them with you, consider this question: Who built your roller coaster?


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