I’m sitting down to write now because I finally have a bit of time to do so. I’m recuperating from orthoscopic knee surgery (it’s going very well, thank you), which overall has not been as big of a deal as I thought it would be.
I started having problems with my right knee about a year ago. It would pop and snap a lot, and eventually it started flaring up while I was walking. At first I would walk my dog for about a half mile walk. Then I could only go for about a quarter mile before my knee would start to stiffen and burn. Then I could barely walk down the cul-de-sac. When I first went to the orthopedist, he asked, “how’d you injure your knee?” I turned out that I had a slightly torn and ragged miniscus, and while PT could help (it did for a while) a clean-up would help significantly.
From time to time I’ve been asked “so how do I become a Chaplain?”. While I usually answer with a laundry list of things to do to prepare, train and ultimately become certified, the real answer is – it depends. It depends not only on what you do to prepare to be a chaplain but also on what employers expect from a Chaplain. And sometimes these two areas are quite different from each other.
Military veterans made an honorable choice when they joined the service, and sometimes readjusting to civilian life after serving can be difficult. Whether you have a veteran close to you or want to honor veterans in your community, there are plenty of ways to help someone who needs it. From small but impactful gestures like assisting them in reconnecting with loved ones to bigger ones like helping them find a home, The Chaplain’s Report shares six valuable ways to support a veteran in your community.
I was having a conversation a few nights ago with a friend of mine about the series Star Trek: Discovery, and the question came up, “what was the mission of Discovery?”
We first looked at the missions of the other Star Trek series. The mission of the original ’60’s series was clear from the onset: “to boldly go where no man has gone before”. Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s mission was, well, to keep on doing that. Star Trek: Voyager‘s mission was much more simple and clear cut: to go home, no matter how long it took. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s mission took a little more thinking, but we decided that it was “to serve and protect”, seeing that it served as a frontier outpost and sheriff’s office (I had always thought it was “to boldly stay in one place”). Star Trek: Enterprise? Well, I never got far enough in to that one to figure out what its mission was.
So it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Many of us working in healthcare have been strained to say the least. Even if we aren’t dealing directly with patients with the coronavirus or their families, the rapidly changing and always dramatic day-to-day events in our country and around the world are more than enough for anyone to handle.
Rather than post an essay or some helpful “how-to-cope” stuff, I’m just going to write. Which is a way of coping in itself. Pardon any possible incoherence. Continue reading →
Dawn Malone, a lay chaplain for the archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, ministers to cancer patient Austin Bond, via video conference on Thursday, March 19, 2020 in Houston. Coronavirus has limited local chaplains the ability to minister to the sick or elderly. Chaplains have also been told not to minister to any group more than 10. Photo: Brett Coomer, Houston Chronicle / Staff photographer
Our CPSP chapter met by Zoom last evening and it was clear that we all needed to vent. The past few weeks have been quite tumultuous throughout the world, our country, our county and our workplaces. Where we would usually brought cases to discuss and receive feedback, we found ourselves becoming the cases to present. Many felt lost. One member who had just taken a new paid position was now told to stay home because she was in a high risk population. Another member was caring for an ill husband and struggled with the inability to do what he felt such a strong call to do. Another member was constantly bombarded with work calls during the meeting. One member, a Rabbi, spoke of trying to figure out how to have a Passover Seder via Zoom (which she called a “Zeder” – I laughed for about 5 minutes). Continue reading →
You have no idea how important this choice is (from The Stanley Parable)
I started a computer game last night that spoke to the times in an interesting way. No, not The Walking Dead or Plague, Inc.: it’s The Stanley Parable (and it’s free for a limited time as of this writing on Epic). Sure TWD and Plague, Inc. certainly share the paranoia and dread of today, but The Stanley Parable deals with something that has affected us all around the world, and that choice – and the lack thereof. Without giving too much away, TSP is game in which the isolated protagonist office worker Stanley discovers that he has suddenly stopped receiving directions from his boss. The parable that ensues makes you consider whether or not the choices you make are really your own and how much control do you have of the story being told – if there even is a story.
I’ve been very aware of choice over the past week, as have all of us I expect. We are all now much more limited in where we can go and what we can do. Some choices are made for us, like what stores are open, and others are made on our own. Others’ choices impact our own lives as well, from refusing to follow precautions to hoarding paper towels. The idea of choice and the lack thereof has impacted my life most significantly in my work as a hospice chaplain and bereavement counselor. Continue reading →
At the dawn of social media, friends sent me a lot of selfies and pet photos. Nice. Now they add a few words to them or call, and I feel better in touch. You may have had a similar experience.
This presumed march from self to thou may teach us something about our field: the value of reaching out more thoroughly and often to colleagues and chaplains-in-training. This reaching out can be personal, as with maturing social media or mentoring in the old style of my generation; formal, as in speaking or writing; and strong or subtly persuading others to tell what they have learned or felt during chaplaincy. Continue reading →
I recently attended a conference on trauma and grief along with members of my CPSP chapter. The impetus for the event was the shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, which was where our group met where some members were leaders.
While it wasn’t discussed, I realized that one of the things that makes traumatic grief so painful is that those who are going through it are so vulnerable to continued pain. Our speaker talked about how triggering events, images and even sounds can bring trauma back to the surface even years after. Some participants found that even discussing traumatic grief was difficult for them in the context we were in and had to leave the room to gather themselves. Continue reading →
I had a request from one of the facilities we serve to visit one of their residents. This man had some tremendous losses in the past year. His wife, who had dementia, had died rather suddenly some months ago. He also had a stroke which affected his speech and mobility, requiring him to move in to the facility as well. I spoke with his daughter before visiting and she spoke of how concerned she was for him, saying he had talked with his physical therapists about how depressed he was. Continue reading →