Mortified

That’s how Al and I left a few people in Panera the other night. We were enjoying some tasty carbs and Al called his brother-in-law to tell him something. While on the phone Al asked when Matt was going to shadow. (He’s doing a summer unit of CPE and all students are required to shadow the on-call chaplain for a few hours to get a feel for what that’s like) Matt said he was going to do it Thursday. I told him Monday and Tuesday would have been great days…nail gun to the abdomen and stone saw to the face, respectively. Apparently, people sitting a few tables behind me looked over and were shocked at how nonchalantly we were talking about these traumas. Clearly they have never worked anywhere near a hospital or had people in their family who did. Clearly they don’t know me well enough to know I don’t talk about people who have had such experiences if they aren’t going to be OK.

To be sure mine is a crazy job and we see a lot of stuff around here. When I joke about it, you needn’t be mortified. It’s when I can barely talk about it that you should be concerned.

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The Working Wounded

Some days–most of them, in fact–I can’t help but wonder if I’m too wounded to do this kind of work…if I should even show up for my paycheck. Because I sure don’t feel like I earn it. I’m just sort of here. Today is no exception. Though I had a 4-day weekend, I don’t know that I have what it takes to be here.

I took Friday off because I just couldn’t take this place anymore. So I decided Thursday morning to take a vacation day. Monday was comp time from an upcoming on-call. In between was a spa day with my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law. Our wonderful husbands got together at Valentine’s Day and got each of us a gift certificate to Mitchell’s Spa and we finally had a chance to use them. It was a day that consisted of a massage, lunch, manicure and pedicure. It was fabulous. And then we did a little shopping. Unfortunately, I couldn’t fully enjoy myself for several reasons.

It was also the day before Mother’s Day. And I was hooded for my M.Div. on Mother’s Day. Without my mom. Monday was graduation and I received the piece of paper that said I accomplished something. Without my mom.

While I love Al’s family and appreciate them being there for as much of the festivities as they could, it’s exhausting to be with them. They are extroverts and I am not. Most of them don’t really get the significance of Mom’s absence–and they certainly don’t understand the excruciating pain. I was already emotionally drained just on principle. Then I had to expend more energy to be with them and to keep my guard up around them. Which has mostly to do with me, but not entirely.

In short, I am one of the walking–and working–wounded…and I’m not sure if I can make it to August. I certainly feel that way today.

Using My Degree…

I graduated with my Master of Divinity today. Even have the piece of paper that says so. But there are those out there wondering why I’m not using my degree. I’m trying to get beyond the place where that frustrates me. I use my degree–and the things I learned while I was at Campbell–every day. Just because I don’t work in a church doesn’t mean I’m not “using my degree.” Not to mention the fact that most people wouldn’t really want me to work in church. Not really. Oh, they may think that they do. But they don’t. They’re not really ready for me, for my thoughts, for my theology. And most people have no idea.

Besides, my M.Div. is more than a piece of paper that says I punched the ticket and fulfilled all the requirements to get that piece of paper. My M.Div is an education, an experience, a way of life. I just wish more people could understand that.

This Just In

(WASHINGTON—5/10/2006) After watching [Tuesday] night’s ABC News program on the H5N1 Bird Flu Virus, U. S. President George W. Bush has launched a preemptive strike on the Canary Islands.

That was sent to me by my dear friend Steve. I thought it deserved a more public display… Don’t worry folks. It’s just over 980 days left in the administration.

Scary and Damaged

Grey’s Anatomy is currently my favorite T.V. show and Sunday night’s episode was no exception. Certainly the main story line poked at some of my own issues, but it was Meredith’s conversation with McVet towards the end of the show that really hit home.

McVet had tagged Meredith as “scary and damaged.” It’s appropriate for those who have been deeply wounded–whatever the source. It is appropriate for me. I never had any clue that grief would be what it has been for me, that it would pervade EVERY corner of my existence, that I, too, would become scary and damaged. Some days I scare myself, some days I scare my husband. Most days I feel the damaging effects of my mom’s death just past 2 years ago.

I appreciate this phrase and the air time it got Sunday night. Scary and damaged…aren’t we all.

Dan Brown is right

All the controversy about the contents of The Da Vinci Code aside, Dan Brown is suggesting–in not so many words–that the church (the holy, catholic, universal church) is narcissistic. They are about protecting the image of the church and the church’s image of Christ and God (not so much with the Spirit who gets very little air time as it is…no pun intend…well…). And I have a hard time with the church’s narcissism. I have an even harder time with the church’s image of God and the traditional image I have inherited.

God is not Santa Claus. God does not do as much as we would like to think. God does not do nothing–God is not the watchmaker who creates the world, winds it up and lets it run until it runs down. God is way more than God does. For someone like me, who has grown up in an evangelical, Protestant church, that is a paradigm shift of major proportions. For someone like me who works in a hospital and sees things all day long (and sometimes all night) that don’t make sense, that aren’t fair, that can’t be explained in any way (and those who try unfortunately bring a paltry offering to the altar), it is a paradigm shift I have to make. Much of what I see in my line of work cannot be explained away, nor is it ordained by God. If it is, I have a HUGE problem with a God like that.

God is. That’s what God told Moses: I AM WHO I AM. And God is present–though it may not seem like it, though we may never feel it or know it–God is. I am learning how to trust the God who is more than the God who does. May we find our shalom there.

Ready…set…GO!

Well, I have finally succumbed to blogging. I don’t know whether this will be read…at all…ever…or how often I will post…but here it is. Musings about my world as I continue to weave my own tapestry, with all its beauty and flaws. Perhaps you will find some use here. Perhaps you will be entertained. Perhaps you will respond in some way. Regardless, the tapestry has begun.