Sunday, September 9, 2012

now for something a little different...

I haven't ever really gotten out of the habit of using this blog primarily for reflections on my life as a mom, although I meant to after J's adoption was finalized and I no longer needed it primarily to vent and reflect about the adoption process itself. This isn't a bad thing - I have a lot of outlets for processing many parts of my life and this is less true with some of the stuff I choose to reflect on here.  My life as a grad student/consultant/seminarian is FULL of reflection papers, peer discussion groups, and one-on-ones with mentors, so it's no wonder that I don't feel a big need to blog about all that here.  It also occurs to me that most of you out there who read this, especially those of you who don't know me in "real life," don't read here for a detailed description of what I'm thinking about models of congregational development, reflections on the book I just read on liturgical theology and practice, or even the very interesting paper I got to write recently on a cool mash-up between Soren Kierkegaard and the Christology of Godly Play. Which is fine. I like you just the way you are.

I'm about to start a new adventure that may be different, though. One of the rites of passage for almost any person seeking ordination in a mainline church (think Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc.) is a unit of what is called CPE. This stands for Clinical Pastoral Education, and it is basically an internship in some sort of "clinical" setting.  People who do lots of units of it eventually become chaplains in hospitals, nursing homes, or other places where people with severe medical or mental issues get care.  The focus of the program is on something called "pastoral care," which is the ability to care for someone's spiritual needs one on one, especially during critical moments in human life - birth, death and severe crisis being some of those critical moments.

Of course there's only one place I even really considered for my CPE site - Andrew's hospital, where he works as a Respiratory Therapist.  It is both the county hospital and the only level one trauma center for our state and three others. It contains the only involuntary commital psych unit in the state. And tomorrow when the pager goes off because someone is in urgent need of spiritual care I am going to be the person tasked with providing that care.

I am equal parts excited and nervous. I know that the next 20 weeks are going to change me - I want this to happen - and I feel ready to begin.  I have no idea what it will really be like to hold that sort of responsibility and if it will be something that I'll want to blog about as I do it. But if I do, I'll do it here.

And if I disappear for the next 20 weeks well - you'll have some idea why.

Time for bed. Report is at 8am tomorrow.


  1. the best of luck and well wishes for you. I have to do CPE also, and I am NOT excited. I should apply for next fall at your location since my classes are a little jacked up that year. I'm hoping I get to run into you more this year, I'd love to catch up and chat!!

  2. I think that's great! You will be fantastic at that. Good luck and I can't wait to read about your experiences. :)

  3. I am a social worker in a Level 1 trauma hospital (also with a psych unit, also the primary hospital for child abuse in our state). While there are days when I am overwhelmed by my job, I am always amazed by the chaplains. I know they have to deal with as much chaos and pain as I do. And yet, they always seem to take a moment to check in with me (and I try to return that favor). I this not to say you should do that, but rather to express what special people it takes to do this job (even if only for 20wks). Best of luck to you!

  4. What a challenge - I'm sure you'll do great!