The following telephone interview was conducted by Marcia Janssen of Austin, Texas on February 6, 2018.
While the corporate world was a big part of my first act, unfortunately so was cancer. It was actually cancer that gave me a preview of and set me on the course for, my spectacular second act
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994 and to be honest, almost didn’t survive it. Even after I got through all of the treatment, my family insisted I move closer to them, because they weren’t sure if I was really going to make it. There was a period of five years when I could barely walk. Throughout my entire cancer journey and after, I journaled everything I was feeling, experiencing and being shown in specific dreams, visions, and synchronistic events.
Eventually, my health improved and I began doing volunteer hospice work. I became involved with an organization called the Pink Ribbon Angels that paid for cancer patients’ out-of-pocket expenses for anything their insurance did not cover. I cared for my aging parents for 14 years and was able to be with them at the end of their lives – those were exceptional moments that confirmed where I needed to be.
One week before I retired, I was accepted into a program at Meriter Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, to become a hospital chaplain. As part of the application process for this program, I had to write my life story and was then interviewed by two program supervisors. After reading my story, which I had also drawn from my journals and included the visions I saw and messages I received during my odyssey, the head supervisor told me he couldn’t classify me within any particular religion. He then called me a mystic and inspired the title of my book. “The Mystic Chaplain – My Story”*, coming out this summer.
Today, I’m a chaplain at Meriter Hospital. I work overnight in 15-hour shifts about 2-3 nights a month. I meet with patients who ask for a chaplain, assist in the emergency room and also in ICU. I’m actually the happiest when I am in the ICU. Part of my gift is letting patients know they can release the fear of what is coming, because of what I have been shown. This really helps the patient as well as their families. I have walked in their shoes, and I understand.
If someone had told me I was going to retire, become a hospital chaplain and write a book, I would have been rolling on the floor laughing, but this is precisely where I am supposed to be. The passion I have for this work comes from deep within my heart, and I do not think I ever experienced anything like it before in my life. I enjoyed what I did, but it did not come from the heart like it does now. It is happiness I did not know was possible.
My advice for retirees isn’t necessarily to write a book, although you might want to! Instead, I would say, do not take time to sit down! Reach out and see what you can do for others. It will keep you young.