Where has the summer gone?
As I write this I realize it’s been over a month since I posted anything. It’s been that kind of summer – rich, full, busy, with lots to think about and not nearly enough time for writing. Well, you know. I have all the same time that anyone else does, but I have been doing things other than writing (or at least blogging) with it.
About a month ago I completed my first unit of CPE – Clinical Pastoral Education, as I’ve mentioned before. It was a very different experience this time around, compared to my unsuccessful attempt elsewhere two years ago; after last time I had expected that I was not at all suited to serve as a chaplain, but this time I fell in love with the work. I’m delighted to be staying on as a very occasional on-call chaplain, at least for the next few months – it means a little gas money, and opportunities to practice my vocation. That I am here, doing this, is a bit of inexplicable grace and wonder.
It feels strange to not be worrying about finishing CPE anymore. I am no longer stuck, stalled, waiting; now I am trying to remember what it feels like to be looking forward without a huge mountain in the way. I can stop saying that I hope to start internship in the fall and start saying that it is, in fact, a real thing that is going to happen less than a month from now.
And I have no doubt that I will fall in love with parish ministry, too. I loved it before, when I was serving as a lay leader in my home congregation. So for that reason I am looking forward to internship, to getting to know an entirely new congregation in my new role as student minister. The last couple of years I have felt increasingly disillusioned and dissatisfied with church and I have come to realize, this summer, that a big part of that is because I have not been able to serve there – I have been wandering in the wilderness between layperson and professional minister, and having no clear role has been weird and uncomfortable and, in my circumstances, extended a lot longer than I had initially planned.
But this summer has been a bit like coming up for air and looking around and realizing that my wide detour into intense personal work has come to a natural close, if not a conclusion, and there is a way forward that is not straight up a stone wall or way out into the puckerbrush.
The impulse to do all of the things at once is very strong.
Off we go.