Friday, September 23, 2011

Transitions . . .

Life and Face Book has taken me away from this blog . . . and if I am honest the lack of traffic has also . . . this blog has actually been like a personal journal and that is OK, but on Face Book I seem to have connected with people and been able to in cyper space engage in some amazing discussions.

CPE has finished . . . I have a new position . . . well, not quite yet -- am still going through the background check.

Am contemplating starting a new blog -- this one with my real name . . . still thinking on this. Maybe will just stick to Face Book for engagement and this blog for personal journaling and if people read it so be it.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Been a way for a while . . .

life has interruped. I am now in the 4th Unit of CPE and am frantically wondering about my future . . . I still believe that God has a plan for me, but am wondering exactly what it is?

I have begun to second guess myself . . . I thought chaplaincy was my new calling, but I am feeling a call to be back in the local church as a partner in ministry with a congregation who is foreward thinking and progressive and feels the urge to follow Jesus into the mission field. So have been updating my "resume" and looking on-line for churches that might fit that bill.

There is one in New Orleans, but I just don't know . . . would we be a good fit . . . I don't know, but I think we might . . . if anyone is reading this please join me in prayer that God directs my path as I look for where God is calling me to serve God's people in my future . . . and speaking through anxiety, pray that it will be soon.

Grace and peace,


Friday, April 8, 2011

In a funk . . .

It has been a while since I have posted to this blog … I often wonder the reason I keep it going at all … it is more about me … about me having a place to write … about having a place to remember.

This CPE Program has been such a blessing and paradoxically a cruse! It has caused me to look honesty at myself and I don't always like what I see. Perhaps, this is a growing edge for me … seeing things in my life that I would like to change … that I have the power to change.

I struugle with relationships … I always have … I always will. As an introvert it is hard for me to let people in … as a moody person it is hard for me to always be up. I am in that kind of funk now … there are many things converging leading me to this place … I think the major one is I am feeling my own mortality … it had dawned on me that I will definitely outlive my Mother and perhaps my sister … then I will be alone … really alone … and this makes me sad.

My sister has a very severe autoimmune disorder … I have read a lot about it … people use to die, but now not so much … but in the past 6 months 3 people who have been patients at the hospital have died from the disorder … she is not doing well … her disorder is very, very severe … according to a friend who is a pathologist hers is the worst he has seen.

Praying for the Spirit to heal this funk,


Monday, March 7, 2011

Unit 2 ends . . .

It is hard to believe that I am now 1/2 through Clinical Pastoral Education . . . it has been really hard work . . . not the physical work although this is emotionally hard . . . the hard part is the internal work that is so intimately connected to doing CPE.

It is frustrating also . . . some of the folks in the program are so resistant to the internal work . . . so resistant that they, even, work hard to keep others from doing that work.

I am also in the process of beginning the "job" search . . . this was/is a year of discernment . . . whether I would return to the church in a ministry role or whether I would seek secular employment as a chaplain . . . although I think I am being called to the later, I am still open . . . the photo speaks volume of how I feel most days . . . perhaps as an associate pastor for pastoral care . . . life is always, imho, about discerning God's path so in a sense life, at least for me, is always a little confusing.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Prayer Dilemma . . .

Prayer has been a reoccurring issue in this CPE Residency . . . first, one of my colleagues -- a Roman Catholic priest -- indicated my prayers during pre-surgery rounds were too long . . . of course, he only heard my prayers as he (the Chaplain assigned to do these rounds while the on-call Chaplain is to assist) insisted we go together and he had me pray for non-Catholics (a whole different issue!) . . . as I indicated to him my prayers are no longer than the ones he reads from his prayer book.

After this my supervisor kept telling me to keep my prayers short -- she was specifically speaking of the ones that I do as on-call chaplain at night and in the morning . . . I asked her is she had heard these prayers as they are only a sentence or two . . . "no" . . . then she heard one and commented on how nice it was.

Thursday she tells us that one of the Vice-Presidents has complained that the prayers are too long . . . obviously as recounted by the supervisor who got it 2nd hand it is "too much noise" . . . now we are to pray scripted one sentence prayers. My question is, "why pray at all? Just give these one sentence prayers to the Switchboard Operators and let them say them." I am not sure I will say this, but it says something about what at least one person and perhaps others in position(s) of power in the hospital believes about prayer . . . it also says something, imho, about what the supervisor believes about prayer as she is not willing to advocate for continuing our tradition . . . in fact, I have come to question where faith fits into our supervisor's life -- she doesn't come to Chapel . . . she nor any of the other permanent staff -- they did for the first unit and slowly stopped . . . just as they started coming in later and later in the mornings although we are to be there on time.

Although I am learning a great deal in this experience I am also seeing a side of chaplaincy that causes me concern . . . this has been a year of discernment . . . will I go back to the parish (church setting) or will I go the chaplaincy route . . . I am still now sure but now is the time I start looking for my next call . . . prayer is an important part of this process.

Seeking to discern God's call,


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Representing death . . .

This week a Presbyterian woman died from cancer . . . it has affected me greatly and I am not sure the exact reason . . . was it because she was the first Presbyterian who passed in the hospital since I have been there? . . . doubtful . . . was it that in my initial contact with her she shared with me her estrangement from her local church? . . . yes, I am sure this is a part of it . . . she had been away from the church for a long time . . . I have the sense that something happened at the Presbyterian Church she had most recently attended . . . that would have been many, many moons ago . . . in fact . . . what was it that estranged her from the church? . . . my original sense of call was based on the fact that many -- actually most of the people I worked with as a psychotherapist were unchurched . . . it wasn't because they didn't believe in and love God, but for some reason they felt disenfranchised by the C/church (both with a "C" and a "c") . . . and so this is one of the things that haunted me as I watched her die from a distance . . . you see at first the husband didn't want me around . . . I understood this . . . in a sense I represented God to him and he was angry with God for taking his wife . . . I suspect there is more to the story than we know as the family dynamics were intense . . . I could handle this . . . I could understand the husband connecting me with God . . . then when the husband came around and requested I be present the son, who had welcomed me said he didn't want me there . . . I couldn't understand it . . . until a colleague told me that it was his guess that the son didn't see me as representing God as much as he saw me representing death . . . I had shared my experiences with the 25 year old son with my colleagues in a verbatim -- an educational tool for learning . . . the son allowed me to pray . . . as he had told me that he understood his Mother was actively dying I was praying for her gentle and peaceful passing . . . abruptly he asked me to stop praying saying he couldn't hear this . . . so what does it mean to me that instead of representing a loving and welcoming God to him I represented death or a God who was violently taking his Mother from him? . . . as I have reflected on and prayed about this experience I know realize that on some level part of what the patient was grieving was not having provided her son a community in which he could come to know with certainty that death is not the final answer . . . and my heart breaks for the countless of men and women, boys and girls who will have to deal with the passing of a loved one without having the faith that allows them to grieve their lost while rejoicing in the gain of their loved one, esp. if it comes after a long struggle with cancer . . . so this also begs the question, how does the Church reach out in ways to those who feel that they have been disenfranchised from the very community that can offer them HOPE?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Preaching Gig . . .

It has been about 6 months since I left the church . . . for some unknown reason it took my four months to get on the Pulpit Supply List . . . and to do this I had to throw a fit, asking if I was purposely being kept off the list . . . today was the first time since leaving the church I preached . . . at a smaller membership church . . . a wonderful congregation . . . a mixed congregation in every sense . . . it went well . . . the message was well received . . . I was comfortable, except . . . as I was introducing myself during the 30 minute break between Church School and Worship, when I introduced myself to one woman she said, "so and so [members of the church I left 6 months ago] are our best friends . . . that' my husband over there" . . . let me say that "so and so" were not my biggest supporters although they never did anything or said anything negative to me, there were rumors of what they did say and what they did do . . . part of the sermon -- about letting the Light of Christ illumine those dark corners of our lives that cause us pain and kept us from truly living the life God desires for us, referenced my experiences at the former church . . . not in a negative way, but in a way that opened the door for me to invite the Light of Christ to shine the Light of healing and restoration into experiences from my childhood that immobilized me within the dysfunction of that congregation . . . it was a hard sermon to preach, but also one that was liberating in a real way . . . we all have those dark places in our lives that our festering . . . to be able to be the people God created us and is calling us to be we must confront these dark places and we can only do this in the Light of Christ . . . then and only then can the Holy Spirit begin to guide us in the path of healing and restoration . . . having thought (and now written) all of this as I was driving home I wondered what may be said between these two couples . . . but does it really matter?

God continues the process of redeeming these experiences for me,