Travelling the Road Part Three Writing 101

https://revrevolving.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/travelling-the-road-part-two-writing-101/

Who am I if not a chaplain? Where will I work? How does it happen that a life changes so quickly? How can I not know the answer to that question after spending countless hours in the ER with families devastated by losses costly than mine? I must learn to be my own chaplain.

I’ve learned and am still learning that when something I value is lost, I often gain in other ways. If I am open to it, there is much to learn in loss. I find a resist it, if the loss is so painful that I cannot bear to face it.  I find I miss out on framing the loss and incorporating it into my life. Sometimes I can do this, sometimes I cannot face it and must wait, like a player who has been sidelined, until at least some of the injury heals so that I can face what is lost and welcome the journey of finding what awaits. Being a creature of habit, I’m not so fond of new and changing things.  Being a student of life, I realize that things change every day. I hope I’m getting better at incorporating changes, but sometimes, just like my walking habit, it is two steps forward and one step back… 

 I watch my dogs and find that my understanding of walking needs their understanding, too. It is time for me to walk in a new way. Perhaps I will write or go back to school and enhance my chaplaincy skills with a counseling degree. Maybe a new avenue in which to use my chaplaincy will appear. Perhaps I’ll learn to make time for those things that are mine and not stay too busy with the lives of others, putting them too much in place
of my own. I will never stop walking with a purpose. But my choice now lies in
the knowledge that I must learn to walk with purpose and yet make time to find the purposes hidden from me. There is much to explore under the leaves and in the dirt. My job right now is to learn this new path and to befriend it. I’m grateful to have my animal guides to remind me of the way. As one of my nameless acquaintances drives by, I notice my little dog in his dance of scratching and sniffing. He moves with grace as both acts
merge into his little routine. I pray that one day I may do the same.

Travelling the Road Part two writing 101

https://revrevolving.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/travelling-the-road-part-one-writing-101-day-four/

By the time I became the first ever board certified chaplain in my healthcare system, no seminary, no college, no ecclesiastical endorsement ( a statement from the ordaining denomination), and only one unit of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) or some church experience was required to become a chaplain in our system. My departmental manager’s lack of credentials had become departmental standards. I had worked to become an asset, in a system where negative consequences were now the rule for positive achievement. Trusted friends responded with sadness, compassion and understanding when I told them it was time to go.

I spend my days in relief and in grief. Relief from the stress of departmental policies, grief in this seemingly unfathomable outcome. It is as if someone is throwing a switch I seem to have no control over. Relief at not having to wonder whether I’ll trigger an office land mine for accomplishments I’ve worked for. Grief over the loss of work friends. Relief at being able to express myself without fear of reprisal. Grief over the loss of working with a staff chaplain who could finish my sentences. Relief that I have time to tend to the stuff piling up at home. Grief over reluctantly giving up work that I love.

It is easier to surround oneself with the burdens of others. This is particularly true in hospital ministry where a loss of a limb or an impending death is right in front of you. There is less time to think of one’s own concerns when caregiving to another. There was comfort in being too busy and wishing for time to do what I want. Now I have time; Where did all those things I want to do go? I am on a new path and I don’t know the way. My steps are uncertain. I don’t know this path.  The road signs seem to have vanished. Who am I, if not a chaplain?

Writing 101 Day Twelve – How can I forget?

Day Twelve: Dark Clouds on the (Virtual) Horizon

Today’s Prompt: Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation.

We don’t write in a bubble — we write in the world, and what we say is influenced by our experiences. Today, take a cue from something you’ve overheard and write a post inspired by a real-life conversation. Revisit a time when you wish you’d spoken up, reminisce about an important conversation that will always stick with you, or tune in to a conversation happening around you right now and write your reaction.

Take time to listen — to what you hear around you, or what your memories stir up.

Here is my post.

On a dark and dreary day, I was waiting for a train. The sky was overcast, the kind of weather where it appears to be Autumn, but in actuality is April. The kind of weather that looks like a downpour, but restrains itself to on the verge of a downpour for the rest of the day.

In terms of conversations, it wasn’t much. What got me was what wasn’t said as well as what I heard. Two people, a man and woman. Both had tears in their eyes and on their faces. They were in an embrace, and she turned to him and said, I’ll never forget.” He took his handkerchief and wiped her eyes. She grabbed his hand and wiped the tears on his cheek with the handkerchief. The pull of their feelings for each other was undeniable and I wanted to stay in the presence of their moment as much as they did not want to leave it. It was as if they were writing a story I had to know more about.

I’ve thought of them, since I first bore witness to some kind of powerful, possibly heartbreaking leave-taking. I’ve considered the reasons they were not going to be together.

In my mind I hear the conversation that did not take place. I’ve wondered if they were long lost siblings, separated at birth and reuniting. Ive wondered about their situation. Was it about meeting the love of your life and not being able to commit to them for reasons of employment, engagement, or fear of commitment?  I’ve wondered if they were once in love and had been unable to work out differences. I’ve wondered if they were having an affair.

Various conversations play in my head around the scene I saw.

She: I can’t believe we’ve found each other.

He: They told me the records were sealed. How did you do it?

She: It doesn’t matter I just knew I wanted to meet you after all these years. I thought that we’d never find each other. You are my baby brother.

He: This day will always stay with me. I wish we didn’t live a continent away from each other.

She I’ll never forget…

OR

He: If we’d only been able to work out the commute.

She: You know I can’t leave my family, they need me now.

He: wearliy I understand, and support you.

She: I’ll forever hold you in my heart.

He: Words will never express how much you mean to me.

She:  I’ll never forget…

OR

She: I love you

He: We will never be a good fit. You will always be searching for something, always trying to climb the corporate ladder.

She: And you will always be married.

He: I can’t leave my wife.

She: I’ll never forget…

Whoever they are, where ever they are, whatever the circumstances, I’ll never know. They inform my life, when I recall them, because their lives were deep rich, full and complicated like most of ours. Because despite whatever sadness invaded their situation the love seemed to overpower it. Because I don’t know the end of their story, my own story, or many of the stories I get involved in. Because they said so little and yet did not need words to say so much.

I’ll never forget…