Seven weeks down, with four weeks to go of CPE. Whaaaaat?
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is roughly 64% completed today. I love rounds. I love chaplaincy. I love it more than I thought I could. Now, let me be clear that it's not always easy to knock on a random door and introduce myself. I brace myself for what ailment the patient could be experiencing. I prepare myself for what emotions the family members need to share. I reflect on human suffering. I try to strike the perfect balance of being bold, but also being invited in to take a seat and listen. All of this, of course, could be done around oxygen masks, fluid pumpers (that's what I call these corded things that remove fluid from patients' legs), or any number of other pieces of medical equipment. Oh! And did I mention the trick of being in the room or getting out of the room, depending which you would prefer, when a nurse or doctor comes in? Oh! And explaining to a bunch of strangers what a chaplain is, what you're not always sure yourself? Not to mention the number of times where people feel the need to critique me on my choice of profession, since not everyone is "comfortable" with women in ministry, my nose piercing (since I should "really consider my ability to minister to people with that hole in [my] face"), and the fact that I'm not married. Even if I learn nothing about ministering to the sick and dying, which I have, I have learned that clergy get plenty of unsolicited opinions from patients, which are my parishioners right now.
All of this craziness has made for some moments where I want to rip my hair out, but by and large, I'm loving this whole ministry thing. Also, the title for this blog post comes from a local who asked where one of my co-chaplains is from. When he responded Illinois, the gentleman responded, "Illi-whaaaat?" I hope that made your day, as it has mine.
This is a picture of one of my multicultural adventures here in Ruff'ton. A demolition derby. It was a great success.