Monday, May 24, 2010

For Everything There is a Season

I have to be honest.

I'm terrified of CPE.

Don't get me wrong - I think I am as ready as a person can be when they enter this program.  I have a fantastic education that has given me the tools that I will need in the clinical setting.  I try to be humble and am going to walk into the program knowing that I do not have all of the answers, hoping to learn as much as possible.

But still - in the middle of all of this, I am going through a lot of changes in my life.  I am done with school for the first time in - well - 22 years.  My job - which was connected to my status as a student - is over.  This morning I was authorized and commissioned to be a chaplain - something I am not sure I am ready for.  When I finish this program, I do not know what is next.  I will not have a job - I will start looking in September after my ordination process has been completed.  Our next move (literally) hinges on when I get a job - and where I get a job.  We do not know where we are going to be living in a year.

Okay, phew.  So - kind of a lot going on, right?

I expressed my concern to Bruce the other night.  His response?  "Didn't you preach a sermon once on living in the in-between-times?  You said you're supposed to trust God, lean on your community and pray through your anxiety and fear."

I hate it when people use my sermons against me.  It's not nice.

That night I got to thinking.  I have never liked transitions - EVER.  In fact, in 2008, I blogged about how I was dealing with some of the transitions going on in my life.  I said that transitions are like waterfalls - no matter how much you prepare for them, there always comes that point where you have to go crashing down.  And no matter how big of a splash it might make - eventually the water always settles out.  And when you step back and look at the WHOLE waterfall - it's beautiful.

Hold that thought.

Last night I was having a hard time falling asleep, so I started reciting Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 out loud.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
This is one of my favorite passages in the Old Testament.  I have it on my right sidebar on my blog.  It reminds me that - even in the hard times (actually, especially in the hard times) - everything has its time.  But eventually there WILL be a time to build up, to laugh and to dance.

Transitions have their time.  But the anxiety isn't permanent.  I repeated this verse three times out loud before I finally fell asleep.


My alarm went off this morning at 6:00 a.m.  I had my first orientation session for CPE.  I don't actually start at the hospital until June 1st, but I had an orientation session with the accrediting center to go over some of the educational (non-clinical) parts of CPE.  As I drove to the center, I was singing Turn, Turn, Turn under my breath.

For everything there is a season.

The orientation session started at 8:30 with a commissioning service for the student interns.  I looked at the cover of the bulletin and did a double take.


And they are beautiful.

The service started with an opening prayer and was followed by a short meditation.  At the end of the meditation, the chaplain preaching read a poem written by a CPE student in Pennsylvania.  "The poem," he said, "is based off of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8."

My heart started to pound.

For everything there is a season.


This is a scary time in my life.  But it is also a really exciting, beautiful time.  And sometimes I may need to remind myself that - through all of the anxiety, fear and unknown - there will be a new season of calm, joy and safety.

And that is the beauty of life.


  1. I'm terrified too!! At least you are having an orientation...I'm pretty sure I just show up on the day it starts and they are just going to throw us into the fire!

  2. Sarah this is such a good thought. For Everything There is a Season! Right now is a time of transition for me as well. Knowing someone else does not like them kind of make me feel less bad. Enjoy this summer and this time.

  3. Have you talked to Sarah Stone? She graduated Candler with me and has spent the last year at Grady doing Residency. I'll be happy to forward you her information if you want someone to talk to about a little of this.....or maybe connect you two on facebook?

  4. Hey, there! Want to think even scarier thoughts? Our minister is retiring. You COULD end up in Richland, PA, and have ME in your congregation!!!!!

  5. i LOVE it when the Lord puts a word on my heart to help comfort me and then He ties it in to something a day or two later :) He is so magnificent!!!!

    he has choreographed so much for us :)

    "you're too blessed to be stressed"
    simple, but profound. If we remember that our lives aren't ours to live that we belong to the Father who will handle everything so that what is best for us will happen, we don't need to worry or be anxious
    (if only I remembered that sometimes as well!!!)

  6. Oh wow, now that as certainly a sign meant just for you! I hate change, but I think that knowing things are going to change and waiting to see how it will actually turn out, might be even worse. When I start feeling panicky I just say to myself "let it unfold." And for some reason, that helps me. You are going to be a wonderful chaplain!


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