Thursday, December 22, 2011

late night thoughts

Right now, it's the middle of the night & I am on the last night of my overnight shifts for the week. You never know what will happen overnight at a hospital - some nights are crazy busy with multiple traumas & code blues, while other nights are quiet. It has certainly given me a lot of time to think, to reflect on my life, my work, & the amazing, yet sad places I find myself in these days.

I've been a chaplain resident for three & a half months. While I consider it to be such a privilage & an honor to walk with people along their journey in the hospital, I am personally experiencing a spiritual famine. It's hard to admit that out loud. I'm an ordained minister. How can I feel like this? It feels like I'm putting on a show, all the while wondering what it all means. My relationship with God was pushed to the limits when I was leaving the church. That time was incredibly painful & I often questioned why God would do this to me. It was such a mess. And, I walked away from that mess into the world of hospital chaplaincy. I think I just shoved all that mess, pain, fear - into a corner & wanted to forget about it. But, it still haunts me. And, it hurts. I put up a wall to protect me from it all & that was pretty evident in my fall unit of this residency. I tried to engage in the process, desperately wanting to let go, but something was holding me back. It was the mess again. And, I am left with searching for God in it all.

And, there are questions that plague my head & my heart. Why am I resistant to praying with patients? I'll do it if they request it, but I don't offer it myself. Why can't I delve into spiritual matters in my visits? And, why am I so resistant to opening up completely to my colleagues?

I feel like I've lost myself along the way - through the mess that was my first call, the transition into a new situation with work, moving. I want to find myself again. I want to find the things that make me happy. I just want to be happy again. And, I desperately want to have a deeper connection with God, not just going through the motions & what is expected of me as a minister, as a chaplain. I desire deep peace.

Something that is plaguing me is the unresolved issues with my relationship with a guy I've known for over 11 years. We have this insane connection & felt it from the beginning. But, something happened back in late October - he began distancing himself from me. He changed. I felt like I've been robbed of the relationship - he wasn't there for me during the period of pain, the surgery, or the recovery. It had all changed in a moment. Over the last few days, I've toyed with the idea of sending a letter explaining all of my feelings. But, is it worth it? Or should I just walk away? What I know is that I have a broken heart. And it hurts.

My goal is to be more open about the thoughts in my head & the feelings in my heart with those around me. I can't simply exist behind the walls of protection anymore. The walls aren't serving me well. It's not going to be easy - that's for sure. But, I know I need space for healing & it can be done in community. Healing takes time - one step at a time.

1 comment:

Kathleen Wright said...

Erin, I have to respond to your blog. It sounds like you are struggling with your relationship with God. Why do you accept the Old Testament view of God, as being the cause of all things, including all the bad stuff? If you consider a more modern view of God, you might find that God loves us at all times. He knows your sorrow, your pain. Like Jacob, you are wrestling with an angel. This is a time to invite the love and joy of Jesus into your heart, to throw your arms out wide, and allow yourself to fall, trusting that He will catch you. There are too many earthly concerns that are too much to deal with, but they are never too much for our creator to handle. The loss of your relationship is so painful, especially given your surgery plus your job plus the holiday season. I wish you were down here so we could all give you hugs. Trust God that He will provide something much, much better for you. He is still working on you, and on your ideal mate. When the two of you are ready for each other, true love will happen. In the meantime, I'm here for you and your ministry, wherever and whatever it may be. Sending you much love, Kathleen.