one thing

the continuing saga of a follower of Christ
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…is exhausting. This is going to be a busy semester – gone are my hopes of painting the house (perhaps the garage will get done before winter?) and of making significant progress on my ordination papers. I’m taking one seminary class along with CPE right now, and in the spring I will have three classes. (CPE continues until the end of March.) So suffice it to say that I’ll be extremely busy until … um, until I graduate.

(Funny, in my undergraduate degree at Taylor, my senior year was the *easiest* of all! Not so this time.)

There’s lots I would like to write about here, but of course I can’t because of privacy laws. Let me summarize my first several weeks of CPE so far:

  • Lots of orientation. Training, training, training, manuals, manuals, seminars. Fun stuff.
  • Jumping into the pool. My first solo clinical experience was not on my usual floor (on which I’d visit a dozen or so patients, low stress), but was as the (sole) chaplain on duty for the entire hospital. I visited several people under lots of stressful conditions. It actually wasn’t as bad as it might sound… tiring, yes, extremely so, but a good experience.
  • Experiences of death. I’ve witnessed it first-hand now. (Well, not *technically* first-hand, I guess. But I was there.) And I’ve seen a wide variety of ways in which family members and friends react to the death of a loved one.
  • Expressions of hope. Just about all of the patients there don’t want to be there, so there is an underlying current of hope in most of them: they all hope to go home someday. Several of them hope to go home before their doctors told me that they will go home.
  • Reactions to chaplains. Some people warm up to me as a chaplain right away; others act like they couldn’t care less. It’s very interesting to be in a hospital which upholds pastoral care as a meaningful healing profession and yet to witness patients turning down that type of support. (Would a patient turn away a physician?) But “no discernible spiritual needs at this time” is quickly becoming one of my favorite sentences to write in patients’ charts.

More later, I suppose. I’m off to write a weekly reflection paper. (hah! remember those?)

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