Thursday, March 4, 2010


Clinical pastoral education is not (hardly!) just about visiting patients and leaning different ways of working with them. Nope ~ there's a huge self-awareness component, based in frequent and challenging meetings, one-on-one with a supervisor and in groups with colleagues in the program.

It's valuable, but ~ right now? That was the question raised in a multitude of ways during my interview earlier this week for a year long program. Two of the interviewers were my supervisors from two years ago, people who know me fairly well. Both of them were present for our son's funeral; one was the person who came with me to see his body (because I knew that I could absolutely count on her not to turn away), and served as a reader at the service.

For several months now I have been inclined toward hospital chaplaincy as the way to go. And I may still be, either next year or eventually. I have a lot to contemplate over the next couple of weeks, whether they offer it to me or not -- or perhaps make an offer for a year or two away.

Throughout the discussion and in the days since I have been reminded repeatedly of two things:

The first is that I have had and am having an experience that few people share or comprehend. The things that disturb me are different from the things that disturb other people, and the things that don't are as well. Am I in a place to work exclusively with people who would describe their lives similarly?

The second is that last year as I was considering field education possibilities, one of my professors urged me to go for a situation in which life and future were paramount.

And now there is a third thing ~ my meeting Tuesday has been followed by a cascade of events apparently designed to incline me toward exactly what that professor was talking about.

Hmmmm. More about that later.

1 comment:

  1. I have, for as long as I can remember, had the sense that I was a bit "out of step" with others. Your words: "The things that disturb me are different from the things that disturb other people, and the things that don't are as well" certainly jumped off the screen to me - describing my life's motto.

    It's not that I think I'm so special, or so unique, or so anything -- it's just that the experiences (visceral, tangible, spiritual and mental) have combined to place me a bit off the path. No complaints here, but sometimes a real sense of isolation and perhaps unsteady steps.

    But I have discovered some wonderful treasures on this slightly off-the-beaten-path of what disturbs and what doesn't. Yes, I've missed out on some of the cultural mob scenes. But I have also been able to be present to some who felt completely abandoned and alone. Powerful and profound moments, those.

    And, oddly, in my most alone moments someone usually came. Out of nowhere. And understood.

    I love reading about your discernment process - and how life and spirit, heart and soul, come together.