September 25, 2007

The CPE Experience

This semester I am doing Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at a local hospital as a part of my course load. Though I believe it will be a valuable experience, I am not in the program by choice, but rather per the requirements of my CPM.

Components of CPE include group time for learning and processing, individual supervision, daytime clinical hours, and nighttime on-call shifts. All of the components have not been easy to fit into my schedule this semester as I am also taking a pastoral care class and doing an independent study. However, the most difficult pressure on my schedule has been the on-call shifts.

Weekday shifts are 16 hours and weekend shifts are 24 hours. Not to mention the recovery time before and/or after catching up on sleep and processing the emotional drain.

Yet even with all of this, I like offering pastoral care in on-call situations better than during daytime clinical hours. Might sound strange. I'm still trying to figure it out.

But last week
  • I sat with a woman who had performed CPR on her friend as she died on the side of road;
  • I watched a large family say goodbye to a loved one as life support was withdrawn;
  • I visited a woman who had to say goodbye to a baby who never drew a breath in this world;
  • I spoke with a couple who is unsure of how many breaths their baby will take in this world
and I was calm and sure of my pastoral authority. I enjoyed 8 hours of non-stop on-call work more than the leisurely 4 hours of daytime visits. Perhaps it was because I knew I was needed in the on-call situations and I'm never sure what I'll find doing rounds on my clinical floor.

September 19, 2007

A Different Person?

I visited with my faculty advisor the other day. Just stopped by his office. I was sharing about my yearlong internship experience. He also did a yearlong when he was in seminary. He told me he entered his final year of seminary a totally different person.

So I've been thinking ... am I a different person now than I was fifteen months ago? I mean different beyond the inevitable growth and change that occurs over time.

I still feel called to be in the church as a Minister of Word and Sacrament. I'm still interested in the intersections between art and spirituality and life. I still like creating space for and planning for worship. I'm still an introvert who loves to read.

I do have new questions about how a congregation functions as a family system. I do have more questions about how we handle conflict in our lives and in the church.

But am I a different person?

September 18, 2007

Back in the Saddle Again

I had class a week ago for the first time since I left for my year of internship work. It was weird. I'm in class with students that used to be in the class below me ... they are now my graduating class.

It's been almost a year and a half since I sat in a classroom and listened to lectures, did homework, and wrote papers. It'll be an adjustment. I think the rhythm of the school year and being a student will come back to me, but right now, as I finish a paper and some reading for class tonight, it still feels weird.

September 10, 2007


It's been four weeks since I've blogged. Lots has happened. But I finally have a moment to write and reflect.
  • I'm fully settled in my new place now. I even have things on the walls.
  • I traveled home to Michigan to see family and attend a friend's wedding.
  • I made it through Clinical Pastoral Education orientation (more on CPE later).
  • I survived my first night as the on-call chaplain at the hospital. I was the envy of the other students as I didn't receive any calls.
  • I attended and participated in the Convocation Service and officially started the new (and last) school year.
Okay ... so maybe this entry won't involve much reflection, but at least it's a new post.