It’s raining here in C-town. But we need it, and it’s soothing to listen to. I’m sure the people out collecting the trash today would disagree.

I’m still maneuvering through WordPress, Day 2. Bear with me.

About the name, Gaps in the Road: Mainly it’s a metaphor. For all of us, there are times when gaps come–expected or planned, or unexpected. Gaps in employment. Gaps from life to death. Or even more minor life changes: new neighbors, pets.

I’m facing such a gap in my own life and it’s both exciting and daunting. After about 20 years as a full-time journalist for newspapers, I’m turning to hospital chaplaincy as a new calling. Earlier this year, I took what’s called a unit of CPE, Clinical Pastoral Education, at a local hospital. (The one where I was born, in fact.) And it turned me on to a new possibility. Because I had been to seminary, most of my friends studying for the Episcopal priesthood were required to take CPE. So I knew a little bit going in.

Still, CPE is unique to each person. Briefly, you make rounds to hospital patients (or inmates or nursing home patients, wherever your clinic site may be); and you rotate call with other students. Being on call means the hospital calls you at times of death when you go and be a presence to the family. A friend described this type of ministry as “bus stop pastoral care,” because you’re not with the people long-term like a pastor would be.

CPE pushes your emotional buttons. Say you’re visiting with a sick person who reminds you of your grandmother. Issues come up, and you have to learn to incorporate them into your outreach to the person in the bed. Chaplains minister to staff, too. It’s not easy for them, either, to deal with suffering on a regular basis.

More to come. Thank you for reading.


6 thoughts on “Raining

  1. As you may already know, Columbus Hospice (maybe others too) has volunteers who sit with patients w/o family or friends during the last few hours of their earthly journey. A quiet but very kind ministry.

  2. I’m excited about your new career, Allison! You are uniquely suited for this type of calling. I know I’d like you by my bedside during illness or death.

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