Monday, July 12, 2010

Recovery and My Blog Mid-Unit Evaluation

It felt amaaaaaaazing to sleep in today!  I didn't even set an alarm(!).

I spent most of the day doing lots and lots (and lots and lots) of laundry, watching mindless TV and working on Bruce's blog.  Check it out - Outfitted For Life - it chronicles his fishing and other outdoor adventures.  Also feel free to pass the link ( around to anyone you know who likes to fish, hunt, hike, etc.  He's still figuring the whole blogging thing, but I think he's starting to like it. :)


Thoughts on CPE - My Blogging Mid-Unit Evaluation

Last week I had to turn in a Mid-Unit Evaluation to my CPE supervisor and talk about it with my peer group.  There were certain questions I needed to answer, so I thought it might be fun to write a mid-unit evaluation that a little less topic-restricted for the blog.

(Did I just say this would be fun?  Good grief, I need to get out more.)

My CPE journey started here, where I reflected on what I understood CPE to be and what I hoped it would do for me.  The night I got home from my first day I posted my initial thoughts.  In a way, those thoughts were actually kind of naive - which I realized the day I toured the hospital and saw patients for the first time!  It's been 42 days since this journey started and what a journey it's been!  Here are some of my thoughts on CPE now that I'm halfway through:

- I really like continual ministry and hate that in hospital chaplaincy there is often not a lot of relationship building and follow-up.  Usually I'm thrown into someone's life during a really traumatic time and it's hard to know things about them that might be important and helpful as I offer care.  There's a lot of 'making it up as I go along' - though I suppose that's ministry in general.  I hate that once patients and their families leave the hospital, I don't know what happens.  I know that ministry isn't about me and my sense of closure, but that's where I'm at right now.

- I much prefer the day-to-day rather than being on call.  I hate the isolation of an OC shift.  Even during the day when I'm still making calls by myself, there is still that safety net of knowing I could call someone in if I needed them - and knowing that as soon as the call is over I can go back to the lounge and process with someone else.  Being alone is scary and I don't like it.

- On a similar note, I can never fully 'relax' when I am on call.  In the back of my mind, I am always anticipating the pager going off.  I wish I could just shut that anticipation off and simply jump into chaplain mode when I need to - but I haven't figured out how to do that, yet.

- There needs to be a required course on humility in college. For the past six weeks, I have made mistakes, gotten lost around the hospital and fumbled through calls. I was hard on myself and frantic when that happened.  I wonder if any of this would have been different if I hadn't convinced myself that I HAD to have all of the answers right away and just asked more questions. Let's face it - no one is perfect. Let's not pretend we are or (even worse) that we have to be.

- I still love my peer group.  They are phenomenal chaplains and I am grateful for the lessons they are teaching me - both about ministry and about myself.

- My supervisor rocks.  I wish that every single person who reads my blog had someone so incredibly insightful to advise them.

- The other day my clinical supervisor asked me if I wanted to apply for residency at Grady for the upcoming year (meaning I would start the Monday after I finished my internship).  I'm not going to lie - I considered it.  I already know the system, it would give me some more time with my ordination process and even though the salary isn't a lot, it would still be more than I am used to making.  I talked to Bruce about it and he looked at me like I was crazy.  I talked to my dad about it and he said, "Don't you want to find a nice church somewhere?"  I stopped considering it.  Then I talked to some of the other interns about it and they all indicated they were considering applying for residencies after they finished seminary.  Then I started considering it again.  Then I started thinking about WHY I was considering it.  And I came to a very important conclusion:  I am considering it because I am a people pleaser.  I want to be good at everything I do.  I don't want to admit that - while I may be a competent and even somewhat good chaplain - I just don't like it enough to want to do it full time for a year.  Ugh.  Then I started to get angry at myself because I don't like admitting defeat - and in my mind, not loving chaplaincy enough to want to do it for another year is defeat.  THEN (wow, this is a long thought) I realized something important - something very, very important.  I am going to be a phenomenal church pastor - that is what I feel called to do, that is what I am trained to do and that is where my heart is.  And that's okay.

42 days down, 32 to go!


If you want to read all of my CPE-tagged posts, click here.  My recovery day is almost over, so I'm going to shut down, put away some laundry and spend time with my wonderful husband before I crawl into bed.

Have a good night and sweet dreams!


  1. Bruce's blog is so nice! You did a wonderful job on the layout :) I know you will be an amazing church pastor- I wish you could be mine! But that fact that you were able to evaluate yourself and make such a hard a decision, under all that stress- well, that is pretty amazing.

  2. Well put.. you have nothing to be ashamed of; go off and have a wonderful life in the pastorate. I've just retired from 30 yrs as UMC clergy and am doing CPE for the first time. There are parts of it I enjoy, but there's so many more dimensions to pastoral ministry than pastoral care... I enjoy the whole picture, not just one dimension! Best wishes!


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