I just started an internship as a Chaplain, and today was my first day of clinical hours. My supervisor mentioned that I should keep a journal, so I thought, heck, why don’t I just blog it? So, here I am, my third year in seminary, interning as a hospital Chaplain, and moonlighting as a fiddle player for Sweet Lou’s Sour Mash:
I was late today. There were several reasons why I decided to stay out late with the band after our Blue Moon Tavern show:
- It was the first day
- There was a little confusion about what time I’d start
- The belief that if we can’t be gracious with each other, how can we be gracious with those we serve?
So, I knew I could get away with it this time, but never again.
The minute I arrived, I felt at peace. Not that I wasn’t excited, because I was. Not that I wasn’t a little nervous, because, again, I was. But still, an overall sense of peace persisted. My mentor is a wonderful woman who is as brilliant as she is kind. And gracious. I shouldn’t call her my mentor though because she says we’re colleagues. “You have the title as intern, but you’re doing Chaplain work. You’re a Chaplain,” she says. So my colleague is a wonderful woman who is as brilliant as she is kind. She led the whole day at just the right pace, taught me some of the most important things about Chaplaincy, and I got to visit with three patients!
It was really an incredible experience. I was highly intentional about going in and giving off the vibe that the people are wanted and loved. I channeled that energy as best I could each time. I didn’t get anything hard as far as the kind of stuff you can see working in a hospital, but there was one curious case. And it’s not so much the case itself, which I can’t really talk about because of confidentiality, but the conversation my colleague and I had afterwards. She has such wisdom to offer, and as we were talking, she said that I was a wise woman. We both are bringing the best of what God has given us to this ministry, and looking at the spiritual side of healing in addition to the physical and mental that hospital staff help heal. I have a feeling this will be an incredible experience for me, probably the most formative theologically because I’m intentionally using that lens. But I guess I use it always anyways.
And I love that it’s very mysterious, this Chaplain business. In some ways, I feel like a detective trying to use all the clues I have – speech, body language, my own experience, the still small voice of God – to discover exactly what I can say and do that will be life-giving for the patient. It’s a profound discipline in the art of listening well.
Theological rumination of the day: The ways in which time/space/history (personal and corporate) influence how we perceive leadings of the Spirit of God.