Sunday, July 15, 2012

Only a Month to Go

I'm at the point now where I have one month left of CPE before officially beginning my Middler year.  At this point we're doing some mid-unit evaluations and I'm left wondering: what have I learned so far?

Well, for starters, I've learned that chaplaincy isn't for me, but pastoral care is.  Learning to listen and be an pastoral figure in the lives of people I minister to and with has been significantly more challenging that I thought it would be, but I love it.  One day, after feeling slightly discouraged because I realize that chaplaincy was not something I wanted to do for the majority of my ministry, someone surprisingly walked into the pastoral care office and we began a pastoral care session "on the fly".  I couldn't believe what happened! I listened, tears flowed, I understood, we came to a conclusion together and learned from each other in that conversation!  Afterwords I thought to myself, "that could happen at a parish!" and got a little giddy at the thought that I just practiced genuine pastoral care in a situation that I could encounter in a church setting. That's how I began to understand that chaplaincy might not be up my alley, but that's ok.  It will certainly be a part of my ministry and I understand that, but I see now why CPE entails a lot of self-understanding, sometimes more so than calling it job training.

The other big thing that I'm learning is that self-care is ok too.  In fact, I'm finding that the more I practice my self-care the more effective my visits are.  I really burnt myself out early on, thinking that I needed to work work and work to get my face into every room I was assigned.  We had short introductory conversations that didn't really seem to delve too deeply into any sort of concern or topic which was on their mind in a significant way.  All of that changed as I modified my routine to include more practice of self care.  Leisure reading, working out, watching movies, playing games, and resting have all contributed to a deeper interaction with my group members and residents.

Aside from these wonderful lessons, I have also been wrestling with conceptions of God, worship planning, understanding and ministering with people with cognitive impairments of multiple kinds, and other, you know, trivial stuff :P
All in all, it's been a pretty significant summer in Hyde Park and I have to say I feel more affirmed for it.

1 comment:

  1. Justin it sounds as if you have had not only a normal CPE experience but a fulfilling one that you will carry far into your ministry with you! So enjoy the final month that you have and cherish the memories (both good and bad) of this experience for they will get you through the more difficult times ahead.