Hello there! I want to tell you an incredible story. The story of how I met myself:
There has been a lot of change in my life since I graduated from Union College in May 2011. I moved to Florida, I'm single, and I have a full time job. Those are a few of the major ones, and a I have learned an a ridiculous amount about myself. I'm not talking about my favorite kind of pastry, my taste in music, or which teams I follow in sports. I'm talking about the type of self knowledge that fully encompasses who I am as a person.
The journey into self discovery has been fraught with pain and discomfort, but I wouldn't trade it for anything that you could offer me. I wonder who told me that I wasn't supposed to feel uncomfortable or experience pain. I also wonder why I listened. There is a whole spectrum of emotion that we as humans are blessed to experience, and I know that I have the tendency to avoid at least half of them when opportunity knocked. I was an eternal optimist that would make you happy whether you liked it or not. I wasn't going to be sad so why should you? That's a great mindset for a chaplain..... "Hi I'm the Chaplain and even though you're in pain and suffering greatly you should be happy and not feel sad anymore." In all reality I'm saying you shouldn't be sad because I don't want to be sad. Sad is bad. I don't believe that anymore. I still act like it sometimes, but I make a conscious effort to experience all of my feelings. There is a lot of beauty in sadness. That may sound strange. I've learned that in our low moments is the opportunity to grow and connect on a much deeper level with those around us. In a religious sense the low spots are where I remember our need for Christ, and I allow him to work in my life with less interference from me.
The tool for learning the aforementioned lesson has been Clinical Pastoral Education, or CPE. This is the name for the specialized training that I, as a hospital chaplain, am experiencing in order to gain deeper knowledge of my personal pastoral identity and it contains a structured environment to learn how to utilize my skills to minister to hospital patients. Through clinical rotations and small group feedback I learned much that had been recently undiscovered, hidden, or avoided. These classes have also shown me that I will never stop learning about myself. It is a continual process that is prone to be difficult. It is a perpetual plunge into myself while hoping and praying when I come back up for air I have grown by the tiniest of fractions.
Much like the show How I Met Your Mother my story can't be told in one segment. I won't tease you with fake hints and false leads for 7+ seasons, but I will say goodbye for now and God bless you in your journey of self discovery.