Thursday, September 16, 2010
I(nterpersonal) P(personal) R(elationships) . . .
Yesterday we had our first IPR . . . as our supervisor explained IRP is not a therapy group but it can be therapeutic . . . in reality it is what I use to call a process group when I did therapy . . . it is a time to see how we are forming community . . . what is working and what isn't working . . . where there are problems . . . where these might be growing edges. Frankly, I was dreading it . . . I had had a terrible experience with the chaplain assigned to the Surgery Unit . . . I had spoken to the supervisor about it . . . it was grist for IPR.
The chaplain on call is expected to help the Surgery Chaplain cover folks admitted early in the morning for same day surgery . . . I had skipped this last time I was on-call during the week as I had had a bad night . . . I had felt I had been chastised by the supervisor over this . . . so I made sure I was up early although that meant less than 5 hours sleep and done in the office by 5:30 to meet with him at 5:45am . . . he shows up at 6:05 . . . we head to the floor . . . divide the patients for visits . . . or so I thought . . . NO, he wants us to go together . . . I am not sure the reason . . . he is from India . . . he has a compelling story for the reason he no longer serves as a priest in India . . . he has been in this country 7 years . . . there are still language issues . . . he also has told us that he has a lot of hemoglobin in his blood and so he is hyper . . . I can't attest to this, but I can attest that he walks fast . . . so we go together (still can't understand this) and do what I term dive bombing prayers . . . swooping in to pray without offering a ministry of presence . . . an interesting thing hit me yesterday . . . the supervisor thinks we are up there until 8 when we meet for morning prayer when in actuality we were out of there before 7am . . . what do I do about this, if anything? Probably, I will handle my next rotation with him differently . . . I will insist we divide patients and I will go back when I am through and pick up patients who have been admitted since the first round of admissions . . . same day surgery patients are admitted all day.
He allows me to pray with the Protestants . . . he prays with the Catholics . . . except there are two folks he asks that I pray for . . . I see the look on their face and ask if they are Catholic -- yes . . . it is obvious they want the father to pray for them . . . he prays from his book . . . one family, a Jewish family, asks that we not pray . . . he storms out . . . the wife grabs my arm to apologize for making him angry . . . not your fault.
In IPR I share with him my feelings . . . that I felt 2nd class and felt that I was only good enough to pray for Protestants . . . as a hospital chaplain I am here to be an interfaith chaplain and should be free to pray and offer ministry to all people . . . going together didn't allow this . . . I was offended he said my prayers were too long . . . in fact they were as short as his but they were free-form and personal . . . the experience brought up for me some of my unresolved issues of the way the old boy network operates in my own denomination to exclude women . . . I felt as we missed 2 patients as we didn't divide the patients . . . according to him we missed them as I lagged behind.
It was not nice . . . it was uncomfortable for the group . . . it was uncomfortable for him . . . it was unfortable for me . . . it was also liberating for me . . . I have a bad habit of swallowing emotions . . . so this provided an opportunity to let them out in a safe environment. Although I don't think this will be one of my favorite parts of this year it will be one allowing for the most personal growth in my opinion.
Now, rabbit trial or not -- you decide . . . yesterday on the way to the hospital I heard a minister saw that a woman at his church (I hate this phrase) stood up during prayer requests and announced her son was homeless . . . he related that it was obvious that it made some in the congregation uncomfortable . . . later he spoke with her and asked her reason . . . doesn't it say somewhere in Scripture if one part of the body hurts? . . . she told him that she wanted people who were comfortable in their life to put a face to the homeless . . . perhaps, this was the reason . . . perhaps, she wanted the body to share her pain and that of her son . . . and that of the countless men, women and children who are "the least of these."