Sunday, September 11, 2011


On Tuesday, September 6th, my year-long residency came to an end.  Time sure flew by.  The residents came together and we shared memories of the years and the ways we have grown together.  We cried and we laughed…oh, did we laugh.  We were always great at that.  I will forever remember the wisdom this group brought to each other and the ways they have helped me grow into the chaplain I am today.  Because I am now a Supervisory Education Student at the hospital, I did leave my badge, my keys, and my pager in the pastoral care office as I left on September 6th.  But I still felt like I left a part of me there that day.

It sure felt different coming to work September 7th and finding a new group of residents, a new crowd of faces who are overwhelmed by curiosity and anxiety over protocol, class assignments, and schedules.  I look back on my year and remember us all feeling that way our first days.  I look forward to teaching the new students and working with them as they find their way in through the hospital.

I remember last year that as our own fear subsided, we embraced the role of 'chaplain' in many ways: through responding to traumas and deaths, watching surgeries, blessing babies whose lives were gone all too quickly, going to workshops and training programs, assisting people with Advanced Directives, being a listening ear to patients, seeing part of an autopsy, praying with the living and with the families of those who died, going deep sea fishing, sitting with families filled with fear and anxiety, working to bring comfort to staff who care for patients day in and day out, and even creating a fun and educational board game called "Spiritual Pursuit" to help future students learn about our hospital protocol.

This last year serves as a beautiful reminder that life is filled with moments of disorientation and orientation, fear and hope, anxiety and confidence.   And I find comfort that we worship a God who journeys with us through all of those emotions.  At the change of this season, I am drawn to the text from Ecclesiastes 3.  For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

A time to have your picture taken with your supervisors.

A time to gather for sporadic hallway photos.

A time to wear scrubs and watch surgeries.

A time to stealthy take your picture whilst wearing
scrubs, goggles, and hair nets.

A time to become certified Palliative Care
Resource Professionals.

A time to plank on your department’s TV cart.

A time to train and embrace 11 summer  interns.

A time to go deep sea fishing in hopes of catching dinner.

And finally…a time to accept the beautiful gift of hand-made stoles made for us by an incoming resident.

We came as strangers and left as friends.

And more importantly,
we came as timid residents and left as pastors.