Saturday, June 25, 2011

Yes. Intense.

If I don't blog about something, does it really happen?

I have been neck-deep in summer CPE, while writing a research paper for a May Intensive class. I overdid it this past Spring, I will confess. 16 hrs, plus the Intensive, so, 19 hrs. But it's lightened my load for the Fall and made some other things possible. Like graduating in December.

So, this is my first truly free weekend. All the other weekends have been taken over by either working on the paper or doing a hospital on-call, or both.  Free, free! 

CPE, "Clinical Pastoral Education" is intense. 9 hours a day at the hospital + 3 1/2 hours of travel time. I devoutly wish I were one of those people who can get by on 6 hours of sleep a night, but I need 7 minimum. So, not a lot of margin. But better now. I have time to eat dinner with my family, play a little guitar, do whatever CPE reading is required that week. I travel to and from work via park-n-ride, bus, and rail. ("Trains, buses, and automobiles.") On the bus, I can also do a little reading.

I have a great family, so it works. No, really. They've pretty much astounded me. The Husband and I come home to a clean house, happy children all working together to put dinner on the table. We're not sure we're letting the 15 year old go back to school in the Fall.

CPE ... touching, hard, amazing. I wish I could tell you all the specifics, but to protect everyone's privacy, I'll just give you some vague, shadowy pictures. I've had some incredibly touching experiences, like the about-to-be-widowed wife who said, "Oh, I'm so glad you're here," when I walked into the room. And who later, after everything had been turned off, turned to me and said, "You just don't know how good you are at this."

You know what I had done? Stood in the corner, silent.

Holy moments.

The Muslim man, grieving his own situation, who taught me "Hamdu Lillah!"

The older woman whom I asked if I could hug, and who sagged in my embrace.

Heartbreaking moments, too. Coming face to face with what I already know, that life is not fair, but knowing it doesn't make it easier.

A big part of CPE is learning about yourself. I am still in the process, so I can't draw any real conclusions yet, but one thing that did surprise me is how I have the person I was, when I was about 20, and the person I am now, at 42. I have grown up, which hopefully is no surprise, but I realized that in my head, I still think I'm my fluffy-headed younger self.

As my CPE supervisor says, what we tell ourselves about ourself does not always match reality.

I am following along, as best I can, all my friends who are at GA. OH HOW I WISH I were there. Thank you, blogging peeps on the ground, letting me know your experiences there. It means a lot.

I'm with you in Spirit.