The topic Lucy emphasised in our conversation was 'unmendedness', that of others and that of yourself, and coping with it as a priest. It isn't skill, but wisdom, part of the wisdom of just being a person - remaining 'alive' inside, and finding strategies that keep you connected.
Sometimes there's a temptation to 'pastoral lust', the desire to give someone clear direction because you think you can fix their life. But Lucy said you are always wrong. You've got to let people go to hell in their own way; your job is to accompany them but not end up in hell yourself. The way to do that is getting into your own mess. The harsh truths about myself don't stop here, the job is a perpetual journey and the harsh truths keep coming. The strategies that keep you connected have to deepen your trust in God.
It was all very interesting and really getting into the formation nitty gritty of priesthood, the personhood that is essential, the wisdom that must be opened to rather than learnt like a skill.
Since things are going to get serious once the DDO kicks off the next stage, Lucy also wanted to make sure I don't approach this like any other job interview, like some exam or achievement to attain. As much as positive thinking and optimism is essential to fend off despair and hopelessness, neither extreme is the right attitude.
Between getting a BAP date and going on it, Lucy recommended that I take some time out to truly imagine getting a 'no', or a 'not yet'. It's important that I don't lose sight of the reality of the possibility that that will be my result. The way I put it was that I'm consciously trying to keep my attitude in the 'if' space. I never say 'when I go to theological college', only 'if'. Otherwise I'm really risking my emotional health.
That's about it, the cliffsnotes version anyway. See you after the next meeting!