Early today I came across a blog post from a former hospital chaplain about one of her experiences in the NICU, helping young parents say goodbye to their newborn. Not only did it bring tears to my eyes, but also peace to my heart. It reminded me what one of my true passions is: helping people through grief.
A while back I thought very seriously about doing some Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at a local hospital here and becoming a hospice chaplain. I am now thinking about it again, but not hospice. I think hospital chaplaincy might be more what I am looking for. My plans aren't sure yet, and I know I will pursue my doctorate before too much longer; but I just might go ahead and get certified for chaplaincy between now and then. It is something I want to do, and I think it would only enrich my experience for a future career in teaching.
This evening before work I was talking with a coworker who shares some of my interests, and we noticed also how when people are dying, as most people know, they see people in the room with them who have previously died. I realized for the first time how it is interesting that they don't see imaginary people who are still alive...they see people who have already gone on. It makes me think maybe they really are present, helping us transition from this life into the next, being with us so we are not alone. But I digress....
Lately I have found myself wanting to take a little time - like a day or two - and retreat away from my many distractions, and try to hear the voice of God. My faith and understanding of God and spirituality have undergone a tremendous transformation, and sometimes while you are getting used to such a change it leaves you unsure of how to translate it into your life in a practical way. I haven't been sure what "ministry" should look like within my new paradigm, or even if I wanted to continue down my current professional trajectory.
So I am grateful for this reminder. I think the best kind of "work" in life involves the things about which one is passionate.