Each day I take my greyhound and my chihuahua on long walks through the country roads of the tiny village I live in. A small woman, between two extremes, we catch the eyes of many commuters. Our definitions of walking are somewhat
different. My idea of walking is to get exercise and watch the natural world as I pass by. It is a time for processing life events, time away from the activities of my personal and/or professional life. I walk to disconnect.
The dogs believe a walk is for scratching the dirt, sniffing under the leaves, looking below the surface, and uncovering their dog truths. They seek to connection with their world beyond the house. They love to check things out. While they are checking I watch for my everyday connection with strangers. There are those I wave to, who without a word between us have become important to the start of my day.
This is the way that chaplaincy entered my life. Clinical pastoral education was a seminary requirement, not a career option. All of a sudden it became an important start to my day. Initially, I understood that seminary was my way of becoming the best religious educator I could be. This is only one of the ways in which my theological education would expand my understanding of caring for others and changing my own life. Once I experienced hospital ministry I came to understand the real reason I went to seminary. Chaplaincy became the goal and board certification as a chaplain, the standard I set my sights on. This goal took me for an unanticipated journey that included four Clinical Pastoral Education units (CPE to the initiated), one ordination, one denominational endorsement, one appearance to yet another group for the granting of board certification Ten years of hospital chaplaincy later, I find myself on an unfamiliar path. I have chosen to leave a stressful hospital position.