CPE Odds and Ends

Not surprisingly, I'm neither rested nor coherent enough for a full post. (I have one brewing, though, so stay tuned.)  A few bullets in the meantime:

  • I keep noticing how unsurprising tragedy is to me.  Horrifying and heartbreaking, yes.  Surprising, no.  This is not something I tell patients or their families.  It's also something I feel rather alone in.
  • I AM surprised by how many things from which people recover. 
  • I could really use some friend time, but I'm tired and afraid that I'm using all my verbal-filter energy at work.  *sigh*
  • As someone who's always planning the next thing, I've been surprised and satisfied by how that's not at all the case when I'm with a patient.  I'm not sure why this is where I'm able to focus, but it's been wonderful.
  • I feel so, so strongly that literature is a precious springboard to ministry.  I'm reading Dickens' Hard Times in my spare time.  It's not his best, but it's worthwhile.
  • Some people's lives seem a lot simpler to me.  Not easy, mind you, but simpler.  I'm conscious of feeling more on the fringes lately.
That's all for now.  


First Night: Practically Speaking

Tonight is my first shift alone, my first overnight at the hospital.  Scary.  Here's the idea that I'm finding some reassurance in:

Anyone who comes into the hospital tonight will be coming whether or not I'm there.  Accidents will happen, diseases will progress, loved ones will have to wait anxiously.  So I might as well be there to offer some support.

There's nothing as soothing to me as the pragmatic.



My husband won a goldfish at a fair a number of years ago, and being the sweet nurturing soul that he is, took fantastic care of it.  I learned a lot about pet fish in the time that Joe the Fish Guy was with us, and one of the things I discovered is that goldfish grow much bigger when they live in bigger tanks.

I've been thinking about that at the hospital.  Our supervisors are confident that my fellow students and I will be OK, and on Wednesday they'll be setting us (relatively) free.  That space to grow will let each of us fill out in a way that constant close supervision and micromanagement wouldn't.  (We will ABSOLUTELY still be instructed and supervised.  There's no reason to alert the authorities, don't worry.)  The department has been clear about wanting people to become more confident, and to have a greater sense of their own competence.  This feels a) remarkably good and b) somehow unusual in ministry.

A great lady once taught me that humility isn't about believing that I'm less than everyone else, but about believing that everyone is equally valuable.  My experience of the church has been that ministers often take on the less-than definition of humility, and that it too often degenerates into a Uriah Heap falseness.  "Oh, no, I'm too 'umble"... to really embrace and celebrate my call, to proclaim my gifts, to speak my truths firmly.  I wonder if part of clergy burnout is the tiny tank that we keep ministers in (or ourselves in).  Of course we need safeguards, and of course I don't want to give egomaniacs free reign.  But for ordinary, good ministers: joy and wholeness cannot grow in a tiny tank.


CPE Day 4

We've had three days of orientation, and today we'll start shadowing someone.  We also got our department assignments for the summer today.  No kidding:  when I read mine, I cried.

And then I thought and prayed about it a little, and realized it has the potential to be a very good assignment.

I think God said, "How can I show you that you can do more if I don't give you a chance to try?"

Once again, I want to share with everyone that God is super annoying.