Wednesday, August 22, 2012

back from the shadows

It's been quite a while since I wrote here.  So much has been going on.  First of all, I finished my CPE residency at the hospital a few weeks ago.  What an amazing, challenging, frustrating at times, beautiful experience.  I learned so much about myself - my strengths, my growing edges, my passion for mentoring interns.  Through this process, which can be hard, I learned that I am beautiful & broken, & that's okay.  I am enough.  I am good enough.  That is a huge statement for me, as I've struggled at times in my life with feeling good enough.  I had an amazing supervisor who pushed me, loved me & allowed me to cry, laugh, struggle with myself & where I was in my process.  I am eternally grateful for her presence in my life. 

While I am officially done at the hospital, there is the sticking point of last fall.  When I needed to have surgery on my left hip, I needed to be away from the hospital for several weeks.  I did not have enough clinical hours to get the full unit for the fall.  So, I have to make up a 1/2 unit of CPE to get the full units needed to be certified.  My amazing supervisor took a job at another hospital two weeks ago & offered a spot in their program to get the hours I need to get the 1/2 unit.  Did I mention that she is awesome?  And, there is a possiblity for more permanent work there, so we shall see. 

But, there is something else that happened this summer.  Back in January, I began to have some trouble with my right hip.  Same pain as I had in the left hip during the fall.  After months & months of pain & trouble, it was decided that I needed to have surgery on my right hip.  I had the surgery on August 2nd.  Right now, I am in my third week of recovery & spending time off my leg.  This means that I cannot work right now & won't be cleared to begin working for another month or so.  I am trying hard to just stay calm about all the stress this places on me, on my finances, on my sanity.  But, I am remaining thankful for the great medical care I have received; for my parents who were here for the last several weeks helping me; for my friends who have offered prayers & encouragement; for God's presence with me even in the shadows of pain & recovery. 

I am in a space of discernment of where God is calling me next.  I know where my passion is - chaplaincy & working with students.  Maybe I want to be a staff chaplain at a hospital & go with the board certification route.  Or maybe pursue CPE supervisory training.  I've gotten lots of support for the latter choice.  I'm not sure what I am going to do.  Only time will tell.  Prayers are always welcome & much appreciated.

Saturday, March 31, 2012


This really spoke to me when I watched it on my friend Kate's blog. Over the last three months of my residency, I've been working so hard on being okay with being vulnerable. And in turn, helping patients be okay with being vulnerable. It's not easy. One line from this TED talk I love is this: Courage is to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. Yep. Watch this.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Love what you do.

This is the wrapper from a Dove chocolate given to me by my colleague Tim at shift change tonight at the hospital. It really speaks to me - love what you do. I've been working at LGH as a chaplain resident for the last 7 months & have grown into my own as a chaplain. I often say, "I love what I do" & I mean it. Even though there have been some pretty rough times with difficult cases or lots of fetal deaths at Women & Babies, I still love what I do. I truly believe God brought to this place for a purpose.

Last week was filled with a lot of learnings for me & some challenges. My supervisor joined me on Thursday in my Spirituality group on our Mental Health Unit. She wanted to experience a group setting & see how I minister to these patients in a group. I wasn't nervous at all & the group went pretty well given the challenges of getting patients to open up. The best part was the amazing feedback from my supervisor - she was impressed with my skills & my honest, trustworthy, safe presence. And, I do feel like myself when I am running these group sessions each week. I love what I do.

On Friday, I finished up my second 3 week rotation at Women & Babies Hospital. In the course of my rotation, I encountered 5 fetal losses. Each one is unique, but they all share one thing: it's the saddest, gut-wrenching experience. I've worked hard at how to minister to these grieving families & to the staff who care for them. But, on Friday, I hit my limit. I just couldn't do it anymore. I cried out to God - please, no more. What I learned was I have limits, but I can do it. I can handle fetal loss when placed in that situation. And, despite the pain, I love being there. It's hard, but I love what I do.

I love journeying with those facing their final hours here on earth. I love comforting people in their grief and loss. I love being able to share a comforting prayer, crying with them, holding their grief. Simply, I love what I do.