I did start a paper journal, just not the one I thought I'd be starting. This one is for CPE where I journal about my experience and then I make a copy and share these thoughts with my CPE Supervisor. My CPE program is great. For this I am immensely thankful especially in light of a trying spiritual year. My experience isn't the horror story experience of IPRs gone amuck, or of Supervisors trying to tear you down and leave you there. It's the experience of program run by a Supervisor who wants to see us succeed, who wants us to acknowledge our gifts, talents, strengths, weaknesses, what causes anxiety and why. And to use all this knowledge for being better Chaplains, better Pastors. As a group we know where we're headed and the basic directions to get there, but the route is not rigid, it's about the journey. What an amazing group of Interns I'm with this Summer. We couldn't be more different from one another, yet we have empathy and respect for one another. We've managed thus far to offer up what we see and then give the other the space to decide if it's "their" stuff or "my" stuff.
I'm in a hospital that sees Chaplaincy as part of holistic healing, that spiritual care helps people heal physically and emotionally. When a trauma or code occurs we're part of the response team; I chart within the patient's medical record. I didn't know what exactly I would gain from CPE, I had some simple goals. Be comfortable in a hospital. Be comfortable interacting with doctors and nurses as a patient advocate. Become more comfortable with conversations about sickness, death, healing, and grief. People said CPE changes you, makes you a better pastor, and I agree though I didn't really believe it until I started to experience it for myself.
You know how sometimes you know something but you don't truly know it until you see it? I know how important family is and how important a faith community is, but to see the difference in the patients who have this type of support and those that don't is amazing. Foster your relationships, take time to pray, get outside to remember life is all around and to keep yourself healthy. At the end of the day, one of the first things I look forward to is feeling the wind on my face, and even more, my first deep breath of fresh air.