Deanna Drake and Jane Ashe

Recorded January 27, 2020 Archived February 20, 2020 40:07 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: lsk002303


Jane Ashe (73) and Deanna Drake (33) interviewed each other about their lives, their chaplaincies, their training and work.


  • Deanna Drake
  • Jane Ashe

Venue / Recording Kit



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00:02 I'm Deanna Drake on 33 today is January 27th 2024 in Seattle, and I'm with my colleague.

00:12 Hi, and I'm Jay Nash. I'm 72. Today's date is January 27th, 2020. We are in Seattle and Deanna is my colleague.

00:26 So Deanna, yes, we both Chaplin. Yes, and I'm a retired chaplain and you are in about my 50-year chaplaincy. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that's great when and why was chaplain for about four and a half years so that our experiences are different.

00:48 Of course, they're different right? We're seeing different people and all that but also

00:55 Our ages are different. So then it doesn't feel like it changed. So how did you discover that you want to be a chaplain or what your call that you were called to be a chaplain?

01:19 I think for me I you know, I didn't know that this profession existed. So I didn't definitely didn't picture myself being one until I was in seminary at the time and part of our requirements were to do an internship was called clinical pastoral education CPE starting ground the foundations of chaplaincy. So I went into it not knowing anything about to happen say just knowing that I thought it would be the worst summer of my life, you know this unpaid internship full time. You're working 40 hours or more a week including overnights spend at the hospital and they thought that me middle 20-something person and Seminary would be able to have something

02:19 You offer people who are sick or dying or in crisis or grieving and I did not believe them that I would have anything to offer. And so I definitely thought I was going to be the worst summer of my life, but I feel like that's how I would call work. Sometimes like a vocation is like the thing that is the hardest for you or your it is the most challenging or you think it's going to turn out terribly turns out to be the best thing ever. So anyways, I went into a very lost my patience. I guess really alone the lowest yet.

03:01 Out that it's wonderful. You know, I think for me I always thought I could go into social work or into the ministry. And so this kind of profession where you are listening to people and and getting their stories and it's about compassionate presents and companioning with people and and I think I went in thinking I needed to have all the answers but turns out you just have to have good that he had a gift of being able to be with people who are going through a really hard things and to witness

03:47 The holy the sacred the Divine coming in and doing its work with when people really need it. It's ya was the most sacred moments I've ever had in life and it felt like I want more if that I want to step into that. I want to be a part of that just to feel that movement where someone's face or someone's beliefs. That's that's in the hospital and the clinic where we are now in the nursing care facility, like that's where it's someone's face really hits the road and I think I was missing that in my studies when I was just in academics studying religion. I I wanted to know how it really makes a difference in people's lives. And that's a Joplin.

04:36 You get that window. So it was just a beautiful thing that I feel like I stumbled upon and was really hard cuz it brings up all of your stuff too. But but for me, it was a beautiful unfolding passed out and just had to keep following and see myself continuing to follow. So I want to Apache remind said that a call is not like some message from God or you know, something like that. He said for him it was the thing. He went into Ministry Kicking and Screaming. I don't know it was a similar to for, you know, well, but firstly I just wanted to follow up on the Seminary you chose to go to Seminary right now. What?

05:36 Would you there that you could have been in accounting her business cooler?

05:46 And I love to just pursuing the study of a religion and I did have a volunteer year through the church and where I worked in Kenya for a year and still seeing the church at work in the world. It was really positive experience for me. And so I felt called to go to Seminary. I had no idea where it would lead me but I felt like it was the right Community the right place for me. And so I went to Seminary not knowing

06:20 How it turned out so in a way, okay. You were tell me if I have this right you you went to church and what church was that? It was in the Presbyterian Church Presbyterian USA. That's the same as me. Yes. That's so interesting. Anyway, so you went to church was that your family? Yeah, I grew up in that my family was kind of polarized in terms of their belief system, but they found that the Presbyterians were nice and moderate they thought so they were like modern. Okay. I just what were the two molars and then my mom had a mixture of both like Baptist sort of Evangelical on and sort of one branch of the family and then also,

07:20 Church of Christian Science, okay, there was a lot of tension between in her household growing up between Faith traditions. And so she wanted some something Middle Ground middle ground, right? So that's so interesting never thought. She really tried to play religion like Loki never thought I would end up being going into the ministry. But so you there you went in the your mother's choice of the low-key Presbyterian and you went there kind of regularly and then you signed up to go on that mission. They like to sort of us about living the questions. You know, I was always that kid that like ropes here.

08:20 Okay. Yes. I can't pronounce a name.

08:26 Repeat the question, you know, I would come in with all these theological conundrums, you know, and they would only they never answered me. They would always give me more questions which was at the time is so frustrating, but now I see it as a sort of spiritual path of freely.

08:44 Following in living those questions in a way then and in a way like chaplaincy. I mean a little bit like that Chaplin emu zactly. Was there any one particular model or Mentor that really

09:06 Can you know turn the lights on even more than like it helped turn them on and I remember Reverend Bob mcquilkin. He would always talk about trusting the process, you know, not understanding everything when you're in the midst of it and where got is but trusting that it leads to God is leading into a good place and my mentor Reverend Ben Johnston Christ was always he was the one that was always feeding me more questions and had questions of his own that he would be wrestling with and he was our youth pastor at the time and would he would do like biblical analysis with high school students Siena like sort of historical context and son, you know fun stuff that he was learning. So we made you play me Legend

10:06 Fun he did engaging and and like there was so much a whole world to explore and dive deep into so okay, sweetie, like opened it up when I say it the whole world of believe in God and believe in spiritual and that you were LED

10:30 Answered me about knowing show me how spirituality can make a difference in the world for the better and Anna in real tangible ways as well as yeah show me how spirituality shapes communities and how communities can affect change and and to see that sort of movement was really inspiring well in that you're talking about. Is there a specific Community like it was at the Kenya or you know, I think I've always kind of different places involved in sort of different social justice projects with you. But yeah, I think living in a place in a different country, I think will certainly give you that experience of

11:23 We just learning from you know you that idea of like you think you're going to go help someone that you end up being helped and inspired in profound ways that you didn't expect so that was

11:42 That's pretty powerful experience for me. Definitely.

11:47 Well the word profound isn't that really it like you get to practice. It's really hard. In fact when I was in clinical pastoral education. I told my

12:06 The person who trained us, what's the word for that the CPE leader or her I said to him, you know, I'm trying to explain what what this is two people what it is Chaplin's he's like and I said I try to explain it.

12:32 And they just look at me.

12:34 I know no matter how I get around it. You know, I say that it's so

12:42 You're so in the moment and it's the most connecting with the with a person in.

12:51 Their deepest soul and that's not how I said it but it's like I get to do those God moments.

13:00 All the type more than then you wouldn't it.

13:05 The direct God moments and the situations that you're in like in a hospital. I was there also in hospital.

13:14 They are times of people's crisis sometimes not crisis, but just they're there for an operation. That's not necessarily terrible, but it puts him in a mindset of like, you know, things can happen.

13:35 But

13:37 So that's a setup of a situation.

13:41 That is really set you up for when you are being with them for those profound conversations. It's like they are open for sure. Yeah and vulnerable.

13:57 Yeah.

13:59 So you're engaged then and a connection that is the deepest isn't it different path and story. Did you stumble upon this career as a well or did you go that's so funny that you ask that you're getting into.

14:24 Well, no, I had I didn't understand know what the what it was chaplaincy, but

14:32 From the time I was young girl, you know, like I don't know 10:12 something like that. I want to be a nun.

14:43 And I was not Catholic. My dad is Catholic you talk about the polarization. He was Catholic and my mother didn't really go.

14:55 But my grandmother who lived with us was Southern Baptist and she really influence me. They had my mother did to she was more like a Seattle.

15:08 A spiritual person, you know much more. She didn't want to send her down on a particular path, but she definitely was spiritual.

15:20 In fact

15:22 At the time I was going

15:25 So I always knew that that was going that way all the time. The connections were I wanted the Deep ones.

15:40 And part of that was my mother was had cancer for my whole growing up. So you see the suffering and you're trying to make sense of it.

15:51 So that was also like a setup for somebody to find answers to try to find answers not get them, but still keep ya.

16:06 So yeah, that was it in so I went into I remember there's a point at which I was trying to decide. It's got to be a people connecting profession. Is it religious or is it

16:23 Counseling psychology those two

16:27 And so I had to think about it and I thought why don't really know we would just lie what I believe. I mean, I'm a God person, but I don't have that.

16:38 Labeled labeled so I thought well and counseling psychology is broader.

16:46 I'll just do that. So I did do that I burned out.

16:53 Hand

16:55 Decided

16:57 I'm going to go into something where you can really see the result. You can visually see it and it doesn't involve the soul. I went the other way.

17:13 That was I became a marketing director.

17:18 For a real estate developer

17:22 No, it was it was yeah, it was a reaction against nonprofits where there was no bottom line and you could get

17:33 The, the nonprofit to go down for not a real not that it wasn't doing good. But because it wasn't getting funded from the government. So I said okay to control my life. I'm going to go for profit company. So I did and I got did that for a while did it for a law firm to?

17:57 Men fell in the background. It's always there.

18:02 I said no, you know what Jane you're getting you are to the point where if you don't do this?

18:12 Whatever it is. I didn't know.

18:15 I called it a god job. I said I need to get a guard job.

18:21 Exactly, and so infected a friend who said Jane you got to stop telling people that you want to get a good job.

18:33 You know I liked it is it was true. She said you need to just say instead. I wanted to work for non-profit.

18:47 Okay, I'll I thought well, that's not really it but I'll say that so people don't think I'm weird.

18:58 No, no sew.

19:02 Anyways, so I didn't really know and then I stumbled upon it.

19:08 Walking down the hall of Swedish Hospital taking a friend.

19:15 To a grief class and she didn't know how to get you know, where how so I said I'll just walk you down there cuz I lived nearby.

19:24 And walked passed a sign on an office door and it said spiritual care.

19:32 Oh my God.

19:36 All Care

19:38 Oh, wow, that's a good job for you.

19:45 So I thought okay. Honestly it did it was like kind of blowing out a little bit. So I said to myself okay, you can either walk past but pass by and go home or you can go in there was a light on in there. So an hour later I came out of there and that's what I want to do.

20:12 Yeah.

20:13 So we do get lead.

20:17 LED

20:20 Well, that was way later. I worked. Yeah, I work down in Tacoma and Puyallup. Yeah.

20:28 So that just happened to be the sign.

20:33 And I called my friend who knew I've been looking and looking trying to figure out she said she was a administrator at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup.

20:45 I said she's bi.

20:49 Pledge sister in college at the u-dub. Okay, so she said how you doing? What do you want to do? I said I figured it out. I want to go a job and I figured out what it is. It's being a chaplain. You know what she said right then boom. She said, oh, I know the head of chaplaincy at Good Samaritan. Would you like to talk to her?

21:15 Perfect. I went.

21:17 Okay, you know that was so fast. It got real and then she called.

21:25 I mean, I got the interview like that. It was not a lag time or anyting it was yeah.

21:39 So it was a perfect line of work for me. Oh God. Yes it was.

21:51 Yeah, so yeah is a really really really wonderful.

22:03 So

22:05 Did chaplaincy or how did chaplaincy affect your beliefs?

22:15 I don't know if beliefs changed as much as just I've definitely been influenced by people that I've encountered.

22:26 I think one thing that I started to notice is how it seems like people that had the most the most positive spiritual coping. I would say would be people that were able to you know, live in the moment people that were able to feel their feelings and then find a way of letting them go and rather than people that avoid hard feelings. So, you know people that use their either their face or their practice in a way that helped them to hold the big feelings the big questions the doubts help them that gave them a container for

23:17 Facing their mortality, you know the people that were able to do that.

23:22 And a lot of them they came from all different face. I would say for me. I started to meditate more and I started to enjoy maybe because a lot of chaplaincy is about listening and taking things in I think for me stronger spiritual practice became being with people in times of silence and X weather was sitting in a Quaker Meeting or sitting in a Buddhist sitting and breathing meditation has helped so much more contemplatively styles of of worship and so my path has has taken on more.

24:12 Yeah, more more more meditative more contemplatively. It was before and I've definitely experienced have been exploring more Buddhist practices that help me select to let go to feel my feelings and then let go and then that really helped to make being a chaplain more sustainable. I guess you're getting you're getting getting refueled because you're connecting.

24:46 Your deepest self exactly. Yeah, I mean, yeah, did you have to find new ways of practicing your face the word digital deep in your face or for me at deep in my face because I got to connect over and over in a deep way and I was already

25:15 Believing that there were many paths and that was different than the people that

25:22 The CPE group that I was in there were six people most of them were pastors and then they were getting there.

25:33 You know, they're CPE so they could be chaplains, but they're already pastors so they had a way of

25:43 Conceptualizing God and practices for me. I was yes, I was I wasn't even Presbyterian. I think I was at the time this kybalion because I was trying to combine the Catholic with the Baptist.

26:01 But

26:04 Yeah.

26:12 I forget the question. What was the question?

26:20 Oh, yeah, okay. It was my mother the least church-going or religious person that changed my theology in one of the deepest ways which was I was telling her about a young life meeting that I was at.

26:39 You know, there's one way kind of thing and she stopped me and she said Jane.

26:47 You really think that the children and you know other people in other countries that don't really believe in Jesus, but they have their other ways of

26:58 A being that work well for them you think that

27:03 It's really only one way and I went. Yeah, she's right and that that was in high school. That's when that

27:12 Went that way. So so I didn't have a problem with thinking there was ways different ways and I loved hearing I love hearing about the ways don't you? Let me know other ways of perceiving reality and and connecting with God. I just find it fascinating to get that gift us as chaplains Are Spiritual care providers. Yes. It's like you embrace it instead of like, oh that's bad or no. They don't know what they're

27:48 Stay in the box or no or whatever box. We have picked to pursue our faith. That's you know, why didn't he he was Quaker? He's like, well, I'm Quaker but that still allows room for everything else and I was like, that's a good way to know that you can be rooted in the tradition, but still be open to yeah, everyone else will one thing they said in in rcpe was that it's very important to be rooted in your tradition. The thing was they would say that the head of chaplaincy and then she PE instructor so really, yeah.

28:41 I don't know, you know, I guess it's important to be rooted in your belief.

28:48 But I don't think it has to be.

28:53 Presbyterian in my case. I was also before I was pissed. I was just byterian so

29:04 B2 Ridenour two-step. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

29:11 So yeah, I had a little problem with that, but it wasn't.

29:16 Major, but I heard a lot.

29:22 Yeah, well, that's what the word authenticity.

29:27 .

29:31 That's pretty interesting the whole authenticity. What do you think that spirituality and how does it relate to Athens to I've been I've been pondering that question and I don't exactly have an answer.

29:52 Tired I hate I hear you asking so I know what like, what does it mean?

29:58 To be authentic as a person.

30:03 To really be yourself.

30:07 As opposed to

30:12 You know, I mean tell the truth the real truth with love.

30:18 Not like in a mean way or anything, just a really be real.

30:24 It's hard.

30:27 That's what I think of that but I think chaplaincy is the helps you be real, you know, as you encounter people that are invulnerable situations. I think it it always touches on your own vulnerabilities. I think it's important to recognize is sort of that happening and I don't know use it in a way like to not protect your own experiences onto someone else but to be able to empathize I supposed and

31:10 Have some humility in the face of

31:13 Yeah person is going through that makes sense. And I was thinking of it as a difference between a pastor or I think of what people think pastors.

31:31 Purses a chaplain

31:34 Okay is some.

31:37 When I was a chaplain and I would go into a patient's room and there was their Minister there.

31:47 I would hear.

31:49 The minister quoting the Bible and telling them how this is how Jesus did it and this is what, you know, we believe in mostly talking and in a way like sermon only just a little one in in the room.

32:09 And

32:11 And then we would go in and just listen listen listen.

32:18 Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, I meant when you listen than it affects.

32:28 It affected me as opposed to.

32:33 Me telling them something.

32:37 That should affect them but it's in the chaplaincy. It's the two way but mostly their way and your butt up.

32:52 But it's a pretty stark contrast.

32:56 Yeah.

33:02 Moses kind of taking your shoes off and recognizing that he's standing on Holy Ground, you know that like that. That's kind of what our role is to take her shoes off and recognize that one or with someone and we're standing on sacred ground and to have that sort of sense of almost like be holding, you know, and then and I'm waiting for the story to unfold that I just got to chill when I said that I really did just went all the way down the Holy Ground and be holding.

33:39 In all

33:46 Just yeah, that's it. We're witnessing.

33:51 Without an agenda. Yeah. Yeah, although we have some questions not a lot. So there is a little bit right not just a

34:03 I mean just a helpful question, but it's not like an interrogation.

34:08 Questions that help people find their own answers that's it. And the the whole thinking that they have the answers with them if they can just tell it.

34:31 And it's cool when we don't get in the way and really cool when we don't get in the way and that's what that training is all about.

34:40 Yeah.

34:46 Well, so in chaplaincy, have you had any significant changes in your life that is have affected your chaplaincy. I know we had talked a little bit about you. Just had a baby.

35:05 Months at the time of this recording and see the she's a joy and so I think after working with people largely at the end of life, it was a new turn to be at the beginning of Life and kind of

35:23 I mean honestly some transferable skills about not being able to control much and to go with the flow and follow your child's cues and then be a compassionate presence in the midst of it and the it but anyway, I would just say that it's been a nice balance to be on at the stage with her in to see witness that. Joy and working in a place now work at Providence Mount Saint Vincent where she is a presents to go to childcare here and to see that's right the joy that she brings a to our residence and the people that are here. And maybe dealing with Dementia or recovering from stroke and just to see the joy that she

36:17 Can bring whole thing. It is beautiful.

36:29 But I want to ask you the same question about well, I'll just try to make it make it short. But while I was doing chaplaincy towards the end. I had a toxic reaction to some medication that looks like Parkinson's so I was falling shaking and it affected my

36:54 Cognition

36:57 So that's a really horrible thing to kind of sense that you're not quite making it, but you don't really see or I didn't really see how much that was affecting me.

37:13 It felt like being just to describe it. It's like being in a behind a glass wall like a big thick say three quarter inch glass so that you can see everything.

37:29 Separate but you're separated, but you can't people can't see that there's a wall there.

37:36 So you're what you are is your back. Yeah, that's kind of the description of it.

37:47 And even you don't quite know that it's a while but you can't get quite get through and they can't get it, but you're still there.

37:58 And that was just a mild dementia.

38:01 Well, who knows how miles or was it was definitely affecting my ability to do the work.

38:09 So luckily with the like super grape neurologist, you figured it out and within six weeks I was back to

38:20 Being normally weird as opposed to have normally wear.

38:30 So that was it. But so okay. Here's the one last last question for you. I know because our friend and colleague Mary was asking both of us how if there's anything that stands out or any anecdote about when you work with dying patients?

38:54 Yeah.

38:56 Any thought about that?

39:05 Working with your learning how to live to you know, that people are are really

39:13 Diving deep and thinking about what's most important to them and what are the priorities and how to they often can live their best. Some people can live their best lives spiritually, maybe not physically but relationally in their last days and they even have their own life's I don't I don't know. So I think there's so much wisdom and then and that experience and just have been so blessed to be walking with Folks at that time in their life when they are so connected spiritually and to help them come to find a sense of peace and

39:59 Relationship and closer to Sarah more story than other time.