Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Strange Days Have Found Us

To explain a little bit from last night's posting:

I think the two day advance of the switch of power in Iraq was probably a good idea; maybe even the best move in this whole dumb operation. Though, perhaps if one thought about it hard enough, one could have presumed something like that would happen, but it definitely threw the insurgents for a loop. I also think the decision to transfer legal custody of Saddam to the Iraqis is a good idea, but to maintain physical custody of him until such time as the Iraqi defenses are up and running in good order.

Jaws, one of my favorite movies from my childhood, is apparently playing tomorrow night at an outdoor theater and Myra and I are going.

"Group" annoys me I think. I just want to have feeling without analyzing it. Can't I just be sad, or mad, or glad, or afraid, or whatever, without dissecting it? That takes away from the power of the emotion I think. But, there I go again, thinking instead of feeling...and we all know that's just bad.

My novel reading has picked up now that school is done and I'm almost finished with Neal Stephenson's tome, which is quite good. I always get excited towards the end of a book because that means I get to start a new one soon.

I keep seeing people commenting on my blog and I've no idea how they found it. On top of that, I get little hints and clues that others are reading but not commenting, which is also pretty exciting. People I never knew would take such an interest in the things I do, say or think about are reading. That makes me feel good, and no, I do not want to talk about it.

Laundry is done. Shirts are ironed.

Today, at CPE, was difficult. No, not because I had to do my second verbatim in which I betrayed weakness (mark down the date and time), but because of two other things. The first came when I made a visit to a new patient in one of the ICU's. I always like to go by new patient's rooms to introduce myself and say hello. That connection with the family also really helps in the event of the patient's death, so it's not like I'm a totally new person stepping into the room. Anyway, I went to say hi to this new guy and I ended up really liking him. He is an older man with a host of health problems, and not good ones either. But, they are such so that he is awake, aware, and talkative. We chatted for about a half hour. After he told me about all the health problems, I said, "That must make you feel something. Does it?" He said, "It makes you want to cry." And then he did. A trucker for all his life and here he is crying in a hospital room to a chaplain he just met. I decided to stick with that pain, with that suffering, even though it made me hurt too. Perhaps that is part of the chaplain's job, to not just be with the patient in their pain, but to enter into that scary place with them. We prayed together and he wept again as he told me about all the things he wants to do yet, but may never get to do. I felt an emotional connection to this man. I don't know. It's weird, but, in an odd way, still fulfilling. Holy Spirit, work through my fumbling.

Then, after that visit, I went down to the mail room to take a breather and get a drink of water. While down there, one of my chaplain colleagues who works in OB/Peds entered the room bearing a tiny basket laden with swaddling blankets. My mouth sort of fell open as I realized what the basket likely contained. See, I knew at some point in that day, she was going to do a late viewing for a couple who just miscarried their baby girl at an extremely early gestational age. I got up to leave when she said, "Don't you want to see her, Ryan. She's a beautiful baby." She knows my aversion and fear of this subject. I said, walking out the door, "No thank you. I'm sure she is, but she is most certainly dead." I got halfway down the hallway when I paused. Something was telling me it was important I turn around, against my better judgment, and go back to look upon that innocent child. I walked back and was greeted warmly by my colleague's words of, "Good for you." We closed the door and she unwrapped the blanket. The smallest person I have ever seen lay peacefully amidst those blankets, clothed in a white baptismal gown. It looked just like a little baby girl, only much, much, much smaller proportioned. A sorrow too deep for words washed over me at all the dashed hopes of those two people waiting in the chapel, who never quite got to be the parents they had hoped to become. Peacefully, she lay in those blankets, not demanding a word, not asking for a tear. But, they came. I do not even remember what I said. Perhaps it was, "Hello." Perhaps it was something else. After seeing that girl, so small and so human, I went back to my daily business, which never quite seems "daily" in the sense of regular. I was changed today by these two experiences. And no, I don't want to talk about it.


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Monday, June 28, 2004

Enumerated List

It's too late to write a real post, so I'll just write a list of the things I'm thinking about in no particular order:

  1. Iraq.
  2. Jaws
  3. How very much I don't want to talk about it.
  4. A few solid sessions and I'll be done with Cryptonomicon.
  5. How neat it is that people keep popping up on my blog and I don't know how they got there.
  6. I still haven't done the laundry or ironed those shirts!


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Sunday, June 27, 2004

Weekend of Fun

The Huddlestons are here!! All of them! They came up for a visit with their younger son, who goes to university at De Paul. Hudd (otherwise known as Scott) is a fraternity brother of mine, my sophomore year roomie, and just a great friend. I am so excited they are here for a visit. Last night they invited me out to supper with them at Gino's East Pizza, which was sooooo good! Then we went out to Navy Pier (the obligatory tourist stop) to watch the fireworks. Myra joined us, which was nice, and we hung around on the end of the pier for the show. It was fannn-tastic! I love things that go boom with pretty lights!

Today was church and then the gym. Then, I watched a really interesting movie over lunch. It was called Kandahar and was about an Afghani-Canadian woman who returns to the land of her birth to rescue her sister. It was quite the story, with a lot of hard scenes in it about life in Afghanistan. After that, I worked on my second verbatim, and then went over to Myra's for a burger cookout with her sister, the other Ryan, and several of her friends. It was lots of fun, with good food (homemade potato salad, guacamole, and cherry pie!!). Now, I am going to pay a few bills and go to bed, because I am exhausted. This is becoming a permanent state of being for me...hmmm...


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Friday, June 25, 2004

Griswold's Thinking Again

Blessedly, it is a quiet morning in the ER and each of the trauma bays are empty. Doctors and nurses are milling around, telling jokes and stories, while NCT's restock the rooms. I am waiting to go to my first individual supervisory session at 9:30, which is a time for my supervisor and I to sit down and talk about how things are going I guess. As I wait, I was reading Presiding Bishop Griswold's recent Word to the Church, which is actually quite a few words. He highlights in it that portion of Acts 10, 11 that is the Peter/Cornelius/Spirit saga. "What God has made clean, you must not call profane." It is obvious, as you read, that what he is really talking about is the ongoing debate in the Episcopal Church and the broader Anglican Communion about the blessing of same-sex unions and the ordination of homosexual persons. He, of course, never directly identifies this. He may be talking about a number of other issues as well, but this debate seems to be in the foreground. The message he gives is all about love, or, as Jim Lemler would put it, [Begin sermon] "Blah...blah...blah...love." [End sermon] I really liked his point that the Father and the Son can be in communion with each other through the Holy Spirit because of their differences. There could be no communion if the whole body of Christ was a foot. Communion is dependent on difference. This seems to me to be the best part of his "Word" and is something to ponder. As we continue to struggle with these very real issues, some on one side of the line, some on the other, it would behoove us to consider the ideas of difference and communion. The words seems mutually exclusive on one level, and, on another level, reliant upon each other. Though I am pretty firmly on the right side of that line, my time here at Seabury has been instructive to me on how to live in communion with my brothers and sisters on the left side of that line.


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Thursday, June 24, 2004

Dueling Pagers

Since my clinical supervisor is out of town today and tomorrow, I will be carrying his pager which gets all the Code Yellows on it, in addition to my pager, which gets all the Code Blues. It may be a busy two days. He is doing something really cool though. Apparently, he is nationally recognized as one of the best disaster spiritual care persons around (he headed the chaplains at 9/11) and so has been asked to present a paper at a conference on the topic in Arizona. Kinda neat!

One of the patients I've been visiting with for a few days passed away early this morning. I feel somewhat sad, but am pretty ok with it because death was a release for him. Though he died young, his disease was fatal and life support was only prolonging the inevitable. His wife and I said a prayer of committal over him, holding his hand, yesterday and today he died. I see something in that. He will be missed.

Last night I had a nice dinner with the Rev. Kathy Schillreff, Rector of St. Monica's in Naples, and Dean of the Naples Deanery. She is up here at Seabury finishing her D.Min in COngregational Studies and invited me out to supper with her. It was nice to get to know another clergy person from the home diocese and especially a Dean as I look forward to employment somewhere in that diocese. We talked about a lot of things from school to process, from COM (of which she is a part) to jobs, from CPE to news around the diocese. I enjoyed our conversation very much and look forward to more someday.

Well, now my lunch break is almost over, so I better go and visit a few patients before one of my dueling pagers goes off.


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Tuesday, June 22, 2004


Picked up my new suit today from The Men's Wearhouse and oh man, does it look good! 3 buttons, black, with a nice medium break: I'm excited!

Presented my first verbatim this afternoon in group. It was...an odd experience. I know it's all about learning and all, and that's great, but it wasn't my favorite thing in the world. Only six more...


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Week 3 Begins

Week 3 of CPE began yesterday, which passed slowly for me. I was very tired (don't know why, I got good sleep Sunday night) and somewhat out of sorts when I arrived in the morning. I don't know what caused that, but at least it has passed now. I made some visits on my floor (7th floor - CICU and MICU, plus a step down unit), which were awkward. The first patient I visited had a lot of family with him and so I talked with them as he was sedated. They were kind and receptive to my visit. The second patient I saw had his two sons with him, but he was also sedated and in very critical condition. An Indian family, the nurse told me they were Hindu, but I discovered they were actually Muslim. I spoke with the sons briefly and offered a blessing before leavings. My third visit was actually pretty good. The patient was sedated and unconscious, but had no one in the room with him. I spoke to him for a few minutes, offered a prayer, and left. The nurse said his wife may need some support, so I made a note to go back. The last person I visited was also alone. I decided to go in and say hello to him and offer a prayer. But when I got in there, I realized I didn't know his name, which made me feel awkward and unprepared. Plus, his eyes were halfway open, which unnerved me for some reason. It was strange. I left quickly without saying anything - I'm going to spend some time with those feelings so I can figure them out. The rest of the day was spent in group. I am on for doing devotions this week, and am providing them out of David Adam's book, The Rhythm of Life: Celtic Daily Prayer. Last night I finished writing my verbatim and hit the sack after playing a round of Warcraft.

Today has gone remarkably better. Even though I made a visit this morning that didn't go as well as it could have, I am in a much better mood today, which always reflects better in my work. I was handed a trauma case as soon as I walked in this morning and went after morning report to handle that case. This guy was conscious but in a lot of pain from his fall. I talked to him a lot, but couldn't hold his hand as he had really hurt his fingers, so I held his shoulder. His family arriverd about an hour later and I spent some time with them, which they appeared to appreciate, and headed up to 7 to visit the patients from yesterday and introduce myself to a new patient (who didn't speak English, so it was a short visit). I met the wife of the man who was alone yesterday and spent some time with her; she was being very brave, but was also very sad - signed a DNR yesterday and is coming to grips with that. I asked her if she wanted to pray and she said yes, so we went over by the bedside and held hands with her husband while I prayed a prayer for healing and for the comfort of the Holy Spirit. I'll be back for sure to visit them. The guy with the large family visiting him will be coming off sedation today and so will be waking up. I said I'd come back when he was up and the family said that would be the visit from hell because they are anticipating his being very out of sorts. Actually, the direct quote was, "It will be like a live encounter with Tony Soprano." I grinned, said Tony and I were old friends, blessed him and said I'd return. Now it is lunch time and I have to go eat. Peace.


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Sunday, June 20, 2004

Teach Me Some Melodius Sonnet

We sang #686 ("Teach Me Some Melodius Sonnet") in church this morning and I loved it! It is one of my favorite hymns and has been ever since I first heard it sung by Andy Griffith (strange, I know, but he's got a knack for good ole Gospel songs).

Last night was wonderful. Myra and I cooked some beef stew and, much to my delight and surprise, she had baked a strawberry rhubarb pie! Convienently, she forgot to take the leftovers home with her, so I have a lot of good pie to eat! After pie, we headed out to the Green Mill, which was a lot of fun, but I wore out early. The music was great, as usual there, and the pianist for the band was a gentleman who used to be the musical director for Miles Davis. No small resume there! CPE is keeping me pretty tired, which is why I was exhausted early, so I took her home and then crashed.

Today, as I mentioned, I went to church at St. Augustine's up in Wilmette. Then I indoctrinated Myra into the glories of the Lord of the Rings, as we watched the first movie. Oh my goodness, it is so good! Though not a big fan of the Nazgul, she claims to have enjoyed the movie and is wondering what is going to happen to the characters.

Tonight I called my Dad for Father's Day and we talked for a little while. Yesterday, he and Trev went down to Everglades City and went on a fishing trip. They had a pretty successful day, landing a 27 inch snook and a 6 foot blacktip shark, among a few other good fish. They could have had 2 different 40 inch snook as well as about a 100 pound tarpon, but they lost those particular fish! Sounds like it was a good day and I'm sorry to have missed it. Oh, for the smell of the salt sea again!

Dad was out on Sanibel when I called him. My uncle Al and his family have a timeshare out there and I am sad to have missed it this year as it is always a lot of fun. Card games, swimming, good food, and good talk always abound. But, I did get to talk to Al (wishing him happy Father's Day as well) and Sarah (my little cousin) for a little bit, so that was good. I imagine Aunt Patty was somewhere reading a book, as she goes through about two a day when at Sanibel. She and I usually pass off a few to each other, but I've missed that for this year. Here's to Father's everywhere!

After that conversation, I sat down and wrote out half of my first CPE verbatim (account of a pastoral visit with reflection) and will finish it tomorrow for presentation on Tuesday. Oh no! I just remembered! I have to do the devotions for this week at CPE - so, I'm done with this posting now.


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Saturday, June 19, 2004

Ah...the Weekend

Friday was a pretty light day at CPE - we didn't have any clinical time at all (though I made a little for myself) and spent the majority of the day in group sessions. My group finished up discussing our learning goals and some overzealous persons had already revised theirs. The afternoon was spent in a bowl of popcorn. Well, not literally, but close. We roleplayed some scenarios that may come up, which was a good exercise because some of the scenes were not ones I had considered before. Of course, the one I got was about a miscarriage - the whole group saw divine providence in this and I was laughed at by a nun. Isn't that against their vows? No worries - the Sister and I are becoming friends (we have a lot of the same theology) and her laughter was welcomed. Right after lunch, I stole away to go and visit my patient from yesterday. She is doing ok, though they're gonna keep her in the hospital for a few days. Her fiance was there and had brought her real lunch rather than hospital jello. It was good to see him up and moving around and it was nice to spend some time and some laughs with them. (They don't necessarily know it yet, but they're going to be pretty financially set I imagine. 3 car accident and they were trapped in the middle, the only car not ticketed and the only car that did nothing wrong. I smell an easy lawsuit...)

I took it pretty easy last night, enjoying a pot pie for supper and relaxing with a silly movie after that - Once Upon A Time in Mexico. Desperado is much better, and also involves much more Salma Hayek. Then, around 10:30, I was reading my novel and recognized that I had long since dropped the book on the floor and may have woken myself up snoring. Yep, time to turn out the light and get to bed. CPE is turning me into an old man! Honestly, who ever heard of going to bed at 10:30 on a Friday night! I intend to reverse this process tonight. I'm cooking dinner for Myra and I and then hope to convince her to go out to the Green Mill jazz club with me. Hopefully, I can get Jeff and a few others out too, so we can hang out. Siobhan is in town this weekend so a bunch of the seminary crowd is gonna try to do some lunch so we can all catch up. But, before all that, I really need to go to the gym - this summer is going to be a light gym summer, but I need to go when I can to keep in shape, so when the school year rolls around again, I can get right back into it hard and heavy, like normal.


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Thursday, June 17, 2004

Holding Hands

Two things come to mind immediately when I think about tonight's title. The first is that Myra feels on the cutting edge of the dating world. She told me last night that the most recent issue of Jane magazine has an interesting article in it about how to spice up your dating life. Apparently, a portion of the article made suggestions for different types of people to date to add interest and excitement to your dating scene and seminarians were listed as the number one choice! How about that? According to the article we're supposed to be kinky, but not good for the long term as we apparently have a propensity to ditch the dating partner when we realize we have someone higher to answer to. I don't know how that particular line makes me feel! I am honored, however, to be among the most eligible persons. How do my fellow seminarians feel?

The other thing that springs to mind is the ministry I did today in the ER. An adult Code Yellow x2 was called while I was down there - MVA (motor vehicle accident). I looked around the ER and I was the only chaplain in sight. Taking a deep breath and gathering my clipboard, I took my place just outside the trauma bay with the rest of the trauma team and awaited the arrival. (My hospital is so cool I think! In how many other hospitals does a chaplain serve as a permanent member of the trauma team? That's just excellent healthcare.) The paramedics arrive and bring the patient in - from where I'm standing she appears to be a young woman. She's conscious and talking/moaning. This was my first official trauma case, so I was excited and a little nervous. After the docs got done with their initial questions, I moved in and got the info I needed from the patient, who we'll call Laura. The docs handed me her valuables and I went to inventory those and look for ID and insurance cards. Once I had that done, I repeated the entire procedure for her fiance who was in a triage room, as he was much less serious. Securing his info and assuring him I would tell Laura he loved her for him, I headed back to her room. The docs had cleared out after making sure she was stable and immobilized to await the results of her tests (X-Rays, CT Scans, the like.) I went in and introduced myself and she was very receptive to my presence. I told her the info she gave me was very helpful and that while I couldn't reach either her Mom or Dad, I did get in touch with her sister and that her sister was on the way. She stuck her hand out and asked me to hold it and to stay with her. Glowing inside because I felt needed and that I was really doing the work of a chaplain, I got down next to her and we chatted for a while. Some nurses interrupted to install a catheter, which was very painful for her and she squeezed my hand about as hard as you would expect of Andre the Giant. She kept complaining of pains (of course! she was practically smushed in that car!) and alerted me that she "knew" both her feet and her left hip were broken. I told the nurses and they said they'd look into it (broken bones are not top priority in this type of case apparently). Then she said her foot really itched and could I scratch the bottom of it. I agreed; sometimes chaplaincy is doing the things most people wouldn't want to do. She seemed very grateful. I sat with her for about two hours until her family arrived and she introduced me to them as the nicest chaplain she ever knew and that I was just so sweet. It does a heart good to hear that. My work there done and God's grace shared, I exited. She is going to be kept at least another day, but moved to a different unit obviously. I will go visit her tomorrow morning to follow up and maybe get a few more laughs out of her. The first chuckles came when she was so uncomfortable with the cervical collar and the back board that she tried to get rid of them. I told her sternly that she couldn't do that and that she shouldn't try to move at all because she could injure herself more. Furthermore, I said, if you get out of hand with this, I'll have to hit you over the head and I don't want to do that. She smiled then and I knew she had both gotten the point and the humor. So, I'll follow up tomorrow as I said. The other Ryan was working hard on a DOA (Dead on Arrival) during all this, having some difficulty finding a next of kin. Group this afternoon was with Rabbi Kazan learning about ministry with Jewish patients. Now, I am just one footstep shy of exhaustion collapse, but I feel good inside. Real good.


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Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Hectic Night, Busy Day = Tired, but Fulfilled

I was on the PM shift yesterday, meaning I worked the full work day (8-5) and stayed on until 12:30am. As it was my second "tag-along" shift, I carried the pager and responded to the calls while the actual chaplain just observed. (Truth be told, she did a lot more than just observe, some of which I was grateful for and other times wished I had been allowed to test out my own ability.) The night was busy with the first page coming as I was walking back to the hospital from putting some things in my car. We responded to that page - a patient on 9 who was depressed and wanted someone to talk with and pray with. Turns out her husband passed away there 3 days ago, so the depression seemed apt. (Her admittance had nothing to do with her husband's passing.) Anyway, I went in and chatted with her, held her hand in some hard moments as she told me about her husband, and finally prayed with her. She seemed really grateful for all that and it was the first time I've actually felt like I've done a chaplain's job. It felt good. Not two seconds out of her door, the pager goes off again. ER. I return the call and the nurse says, "Please hurry. Bed * [nurses refer to patients by bed number) is dying." We went as fast as we could and met three of the patient's daughters outside. They were sad but said their Mom (who was elderly) had led a good life and that this was a good death. They did not want to see her spiral down and down into the depths of Alzheimer's, as she was already in the middle stages of that. She passed and many family members arrived; they stood around in the room and told stories about this woman, which was very touching to me. We helped make all the necessary arrangements and filed the proper paperwork. Again, I felt like a chaplain, or, as Debra has been putting it, I felt like I was growing into my coat (Navy bluye lab coats are the insignia of the chaplain at my hospital.) We responded to a few other pages that night, including a mild code yellow and finally, we were allowed to hand over the pager to the next shift and go home for four hours of sleep before turning around and doing it all again!

This morning was a tough morning, but tough in a good way. Having our clinical assigments (I'm in ER and Cardiac ICU) we got a chance to work our floors. There were two big cases going on: a young man "Flight for Life" car accident victim and an elderly nun whose vitals were failing. My partner and the unit chaplain took the car accident victim as it was the more difficult case. The young man was definitely not going to make it and the family was, of course, devastated. 2 chaplains seemed appropriate. And, since the ER is my new ward, it was appropriate I stay there and handle the nun's case. She had one of her religious sisters with her and was barely able to respond to stimuli (blinking eyes). I helped the other sister to get the proper paperwork there (Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare and the Living Will) and tried my hardest to contact the niece who was the only living relative. Those attempts were in vain, as she was a public school teacher and no one would give me any information about how to contact her. Apparently, that information is highly guarded my the union, so when this niece is upset she missed her aunt's death, I'll direct her to the woman from the union on the phone who hung up on me...twice. A Catholic priest arrived to administer the Sacrament of Anointing for the Sick and I participated in this rite, along with the other sister and the attending nurse. It was a very nice moment and the patient appreciated it; they say hearing is the last sense to go. She passed away some time later. I felt, once again, like I had done the work of a chaplain, and that I had done a good job. The remainder of the day was taken up in group sessions and more orientation stuff. We were oriented to the Neonatal ICU today, as well as the Pediatric ICU by the OB/Peds Chaplain.

We also selected our on call shifts for the rest of the summer and I am pretty happy with my schedule. Because I drew the shortest straw, I got to pick last which left me to conclude the summer on the last day with a double shift. But hey, if you gotta go, go out with a bang I say!

M just called and she is on her way back from the airport, so I am excited to see her after her week long absence. Tomorrow should be another good day. I am feeling much more comfortable in my role now, as well as much more familiar with the layout of the hospital. Though it is still possible to get lost, it is not as likely. All in all, I am tired, but I feel good. God's work is being done.


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Monday, June 14, 2004

Mixed Emotions

Today is a day of confounded feelings. I will deliver the bad news first (because the first part of it is just odd) and then tell you the good news, so that I can leave you on happy notes. But before I do any of that - the day's CPE report.

This morning, my alarm clock did not go off and I awoke on my own steam at 7:37am. The first words out of my mouth were, "Oh, shit!" I was angry that I was going to be late and confused on why the alarm didn't ring. When I looked, I noted I had forgotten to set it. I think alarm clocks should set themselves on Monday mornings - I mean, honestly, you haven't set it all weekend and you're likely to forget! So, I rushed around like a mad man, tying the poorest half-windsor ever seen, jumped into the car without so much as a whiff of fresh brewed coffee. I arrived at LGH just in the nick of time for morning report, so I wasn't technically late, but I missed Morning Prayer (which
Michael and I have gotten into the habit of saying before work begins) and was completely frazzled for the beginning of the day. After morning report time, we were free to do as we wished until 1pm. The choices were actually two-fold: read some articles they gave us or go spend time on the wards to which we want to be assigned. My thinking: I can read at home. So, I tromped off to the ER where I met the Critical Care Chaplain, John, and spent the morning with him learning the ropes, debating finer points of ministry, and visiting some people. We had no codes during the morning, so we were lucky. After lunch, we got an intro into OB/Peds ministry from that unit's chaplain, Carol, and then we sat down to assign our groups. My supervisor began by asking, "Is there anyone that has a clear idea of what they think they want to do?" I raised my hand. She saw the hand, and, without acknowledging me to speak, just wrote my name down in Critical Care, chuckling to herself. An excellent start!

I also got an update on the 4 year old girl with the brain tumor - she survived the surgery, which took a ghastly 14 hours. Prognosis is still not good, however, so continue to keep her and her family in your prayers. I also visited the room of the man who had the code blue on Friday. His whole family was there, diligently by his bedside, and we chatted for a while. The man is still unresponsive and it does not look good. I spent some time with the family and assurred them I would let the Catholic priest know they requested his presence for their afternoon consultation with the Docs as to whether to continue the life support or not. Also keep them in your prayers.

Now, on to the bad news of the day. When I arrived home, I saw a screenname on my Instant Messenger list pop up which has been notably absent for some time. I clicked on it and sent a greeting of something like, "Long time no see!" This is a person whom I have never met, only spoken with on IM (we met in a chat room about a year ago one day when I was really bored). My message just sat there with no response for some time. Then, a brief message in reply, "This isn't (we'll call her) Mary." I expressed some surprise and asked where Mary was. After some wrangling, I finally got the story. A couple of weeks ago, Mary committed suicide by driving her car into the path of an oncoming semi, leaving behind a 2 year old little girl. I didn't know what to say then and I don't know what to feel now. Of course, this is awful, but I really didn't know the person except through a few IM conversations. I am conflicted. Should I feel sad, beyond the normal sadness as loss of human life? I don't know. Then, later today, I was talking to my friend Melanie who is working down at the Diocesan Summer Camp (I am jealous, by the way!) I worked there last summer and she was writing me to tell me how it was going. But, she had some sad news as well. Gordon, the Building and Grounds supervisor and just a stand-up guy, collapsed with a heart attack. He has survived, but has to go for surgery tomorrow, so please pray for him and his recovery. I told Mel to tell him that I would fly down immediately to challenge him in arm wrestling after he came out of surgery, because it would likely be my only opportunity to beat him (we have a standing challenge)! So, that's the bad news, now on to the happy news!

In the same conversation with Mel, she asked me if I remembered a particular camper from last year. I said, "Absolutely! The really, really smart elementary school kid with the Harvard shirt." She said that was the one and he asked her to tell me that he misses me and is sad I could not be there this year! That is the sweetest thing ever! I can't believe he remembers me! It completely made my night! She said he wasn't the only one, several campers were wondering about my absence. I completely wish that I could be there with them this year as well! It is so much fun at camp! I asked Mel if she would tell them that I miss them all too and wish I could be there, but that God really wants me at CPE this summer, and for Mel to explain to them what CPE was. This has really set me to beaming! And, if that is not enough, M comes home on Wednesday!!! Hooray! I work my second tag-along shift tomorrow from 5pm-12:30am, so it's another 16 hour day straight through from 8am tomorrow morning. Better get to sleeping...and dreaming...


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Sunday, June 13, 2004

Gearing Up For Week 2

Troy last night was a bit of a disappointment. While it was good, I wouldn't spend the $8 on it to see it on the big screen. Wait for DVD/VHS. The storyline of The Iliad was adhered too loosely. In the poem, the gods play major roles as characters, even fighting battles and duels. Beyond that, they provide the impetus and motivation for many of the plot's significant events. The film version decided it was a good enough tale without deities - a poor decision as one familiar with the epic noticed the distinct lack of divinity and was sorry for it. Moreover, the dactylic hexameter of Homer is replaced by colloquial idioms and military parlance, i.e. "Here are your discharge papers." A beautiful language was given over to the crude abilities of modern day actors. The battle scenes were wonderful however, epic in scale and militaristicly accurate. Achilles vaulted over enemies with his divine combat ability and engaged in heroic swordplay befitting his stature as a character. Hector was equally as good, until the moment when it counts of course. I wished we had scene more of Ajax, long a favorite character of mine, with his fearsome battle hammer and enormous strength. Anyway, overall, it garners a so-so rating. The ebst part, by far, was coming out of the theater to hear one patron say to another, "I liked the movie, but wasn't the main character's name suppossed to be Odysseus? Cause it's based off Homer's Odyssey." That remark made it almost worth the $8.

This morning I woke early to go to church, Canterbury being over for this academic year. As it may be the site of some future employment, I chose to go to St. Augustine's up in Wilmette. Remembering their schedule to include an 8:30 and 10:00 service, I elected to go at 8:30am. When I arrived, I found the church grounds deserted and the doors locked - a distinctly odd case for a church on Sunday morning. It was then that I noticed the sign out front - "SUMMER SCHEDULE: 8:00 AM - Service at Gillison Park, 9:30AM - Service at the Church" So, I was an hour early, a situation remedied by a coffee shop down the way. The service, when it began at the proper time, was very nice. The sermon was a bit too much of a recap of the OT lesson and not enough sermonizing for my tastes, but oh well, the liturgy was pretty good. I spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying my day off, watched the season finale of Deadwood tonight, wrote my learning goals for CPE and now am heading to the shower and bed, so that I am ready to go tomorrow morning. I have another 16 hour day ahead of me on Tuesday, so I want to make sure I am plenty rested. We get our assignments tomorrow - I am excited and will try for the Critical Care (ER and ICU's) assignment. Keep you posted...


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Saturday, June 12, 2004

Day of Rest

Ah, Saturday! I slept today until the sleeping was done, around 10:40am. It was so wonderful. I feel energized again, more alert, healthier, and almost ready to take on another week of CPE. By tomorrow, after church, I will be prepared. The first week was, overall, awesome and spiritually fulfilling. I feel like I am doing some good works and really helping some folks. The majority of today was taken up by Xenosaga I, a new PS2 game I got for my birthday. It's weird, but enjoyable, and pretty unique. I finally got around to replying to Bob Metzger about his book, Picoverse. If you feel like you can handle it, follow the previous link and Bob graciously allows all his books to be read for free online. But, if you enjoy them after reading a few chapters, do a guy a favor and go pick up a hard copy. Now I am grilling, cause its Saturday night, and then I will once again try and go see the movie Troy. Everytime I've tried so far, it's been sold out and I've had to see a dumb movie. If I get in, it will take a couple of hours, then I will come home and read books for the rest of the night. Yes, I know, I'm boring.


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Friday, June 11, 2004

Trial by Fire

Yes indeed the day bed looked good to me. But it was only good to me for about an hour. Then, my pager went off. Uh-oh. I have to do something now. I have responsibilities. They have paged me. I return the page and the lady on the other end of the phone says calmly, "Could you please come up to Dialysis on 9. We're in a Code Blue. Thank you." (Code Blue is hospital lingo for Cardiac and Respiratory Arrest.) Holy Cow!! I collect myself, say the breath prayer, get my clipboard and head on up. I get to the 9th floor and look up and down it. Seeing nothing unusual, I proceed down the hall, wondering if I'll be able to tell where the Code is. I get to the end of the hallway and into the actual dialysis unit. Yep. There it is, no mistake about it! About 25 doctors are gathered around a patient's bed in the corner all doing different things and giving and receiving orders. I walk in calmly and a nurse approaches me. She says, "Good. Pastoral Care. Thank you for coming, the daughter is over there with the Doctor," pointing out the pair. Ok, they recognize and accept my presence; that is a good start. I walk over to the doctor and the patient's daughter. She is obviously very upset and this was an unexpected turn during a routine procedure. The doctor is explaining to her the possibilities of what happened and what the Code team is actually doing. I introduce myself and she seems to accept me, though is (properly) more interested in what the doctor has to say. At this time, my colleague, the other Ryan, shows up and introduces himself. The doctor leaves and we chat with the daughter, who we'll here call Sue. Sue is not emotional at all, but is angry and irritated at the hospital. Some people manifest their grief this way. The Code team is not having much luck. I leave the daughter with my partner and go into the room to see if I can get some information. "Clear!" Zzzzt! Oh wow, they are actually doing that! I learn from listening in that the team is not having much luck, that there is no pulse of the patient's own, and that he is unresponsive to the injections. Doesn't look good. I return with this assessment to Sue, careful to phrase my remarks so that it does not appear as if I am giving medical information. ("The person is critical" vs. "The person has gone into ventricular fibrillation and arrest") Sue reacts without much emotion, just nods. My partner has ascertained that Sue has called family members and that they are on their way. He then takes Sue to a consultation room while I go downstairs to greet the family members. At this time, they have temporarily stabilized the patient and are going to move him into CICU, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. When the siblings arrive, I introduce myself and we head upstairs. When we get to the floor, I tell another daughter that I'm going to take her to see her father, but that he is not doing well, is in critical condition, has ben intubated, which means he's got a tube sticking out of his mouth helping him breathe (she began to be emotional at this point), and will be attached to a lot of machines. SHe takes one peek in the room and decides she can't see that, so I take her to the consultation room. Long story short, my partner and I remained there for some time and ministered to the family to the best of our ability and given the fact they didn't want to pray. We then gave them our pager numbers and said we were going to go, but that they could page us at any time. For the rest of the afternoon I did not hear back from them and have no idea how the patient is doing. It appears that if he pulls through, it will only be temporary. He was very old after all and had a number of other health problems.

Also, by way of update, I did not hear back about the 4 year old girl. So, I will keep asking for your prayers for these and all patients.


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1st Shift Over, 2nd Shift Begun

Here I sit, down in the basement of the hospital on the Pastoral Care computer. My graveyard shift is over and my normal day has begun. (I can already tell my normal level of eloquence is going to be absent in this posting. I apologize.) The night chaplain was very good about teaching us all the things we need to know. Thankfully, we had a pretty quiet night. We did not even get a page until about 4:20am, when an elderly Hospice patient up on 12 passed away. The family was not particularly religious and didn't want any pastoral care stating, "We already prayed for Daddy and that's good enough." 'Daddy' died of respiratory failure/arrest. We filled out the appropriate paperwork and by then, the family was itching to get home, citing the long day they no doubt had. Then, it was all quiet again for a while. At about 6:45am, we went the the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) to do some pastoral care work with a patient and her family there. The patient was recently diagnosed with a serious brain tumor in the brain stem/hypothalamus area. The surgeon believes that at least a portion of the tumor is in such a location as to make it inoperable, but he will do his best. He needed the night chaplain to come because the family was Hispanic and our night chaplain speaks fluent Spanish. There was much translating work to be done. It was difficult to watch the night chaplain tell Mom and Dad that the surgery was high risk and that their little girl might not make it off the table. And, even if she did, life expectancy was not long if the whole tumor could not be removed. The tumor is pinching off an artery that carries blood to that region of the brain stem which controls involuntary bodily functions like breathing. Over all, it was a very sad case and we prayed hard as the girl was wheeled into surgery. I am still waiting to hear how the surgery is going/went. Following that, we visited the pre-surgical untit and visited all the patients there who were getting ready to go into surgery this morning. We introduced ourselves and asked them if there was anything that we could do for them and if they would like prayer. Some said yes, some said no. We prayed with those who wished it, laying hands on them and interceding. One patient began speaking in tongues. It was a moving and fulfilling experience. Then, we headed downstairs to go to the morning report meeting, but were interrupted by the pager. Another elderly Hospice patient on 12 had died, but we were expecting this one to pass away today. Another chaplain handled that paperwork and pastoral care work.

Now, we have the morning to ourselves (until 1:30pm) to do as we please. We could try a few rounds if we want or whatever. The Critical Care Pastoral Caregiver is out of the office this morning, so I am carrying his pager. Should anyone come into the ER or have a need in an ICU unit - I get the page. Lukcily, I'm not totally alone. Two of my fellow students will also respond with me and if we have any questions, one of the supervisory chaplains will be available on pager. Right now though, the day bed behind is looking mighty fine, at least for a little while or until the pager goes off. I think I am ready for when that happens. At least, I feel more ready now than I have before. This is an excellent experience and one I know I will treasure, cherish, and reflect on for years to come.

Sleepy, but excited,


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Thursday, June 10, 2004

Off to bed

Which would not be unusual, unless you note the time. 7:34pm. A little bit early? Not when you have to be at work for a 16 hour shift at 12:30am. That's right - my first tag-along on-call shift is tonight and I need some sleep in order to be ready for it. At CPE today we learned how to do Critical Care ministry, how to fill out the paperwork associated with a patient death, and did some group work on norms (I don't much care for norms; I'd rather have rules). Then I came home and learned some more. I learned that a good friend wants me to marry him and his fiance and that they're willing, at least right now, to wait until I am ordained. I also learned that Colorado, much to my disappointment, is really far away from Chicago.



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Wednesday, June 09, 2004

A Day of Learning

Today proved to be as informative as yesterday, but in a different way. We got down to some of the nitty-gritty stuff and details today after a morning session of learning the history of CPE at Lutheran General. Fr. Barry, one of the staff Catholic priests spoke to us about ministering to specifically Catholic patients, who apparently abound in this hospital. (Actually, the hospital was described as a 'Lutheran hospital staffed mainly by Jewish physicians who work to heal largely Catholic patients who are being minstered to by a growing number of Episcopal pastoral caregivers.') It was very interesting and informative. He spoke to us about the varieties of things Catholic patients may request and which of those things we can do as chaplains and those of them for which we need to call the priest. This was not as unfamiliar territory for me, being an Anglican, as it was for others. He spoke primarily about Sacraments and what patients may request and what they might actually mean. The Sacrament of Last Rites goes by a number of names: Anointing of the Sick, Sacrament of Extreme Unction, and the Last Sacrament (Communion before death as spiritual food for a spiritual journey). He gave us a little booklet that we can carry with us containing some Catholic prayers that we can pray with the patients and some prayers that we can give them to pray when a chaplain is not with them.

Then he talked about baptizing dead babies.

As I mentioned before, this is not a good subject with me. There is a wing of the hospital dedicated to IUFD's (in utero fetal demise); it is a wing devoted to a thing which should never be. Fr. Barry asked us to think about our own theology and if it would allow us to baptize a baby who was stillborn or died shortly after birth as well as gave us an alternative service for naming and recognizing the baby before saying goodbye. Such a heartbreaking subject. He said, in the end, when he is called to a situation like this, he goes ahead and baptizes the deceased baby, because he is then doing pastoral care work for the parents. I suppose that if and when it comes down to it, this is what I would likely do as well, despite my own feelings about its efficacy.

The rest of the afternoon we were given off, as our supervisor had to do something else, so I came home and worked on my learning goals (after writing my already late Ember Day letter). My first learning goal is to become more comfortable with death. I will work on this goal in a variety of ways throughout the summer, but I'd rather not go into it now because I need to see if what I have typed up is appropriate or not.

Incidentally, right after the morning check-in sesion, they had a very nice reception for us with coffee, juice, and coffee cakes. During this reception I introduced myself to Fr. Moore, an Episcopal priest and the hospital's Clinical Ethicist, Mr. Wilson, the New Zealander head of the Critical Care team, with whom I hope to be working closely, and Rabbi Kazan, who handles the Jewish ministry. (There is not a Muslim chaplain, but I think it would be exciting, given my interests, to minister to both Jewish and Muslim patients in addition to Christian ones!) Rabbi Kazan and Mr. Wilson, in the course of a normal conversation, gave the best description of CPE I have heard yet without intending to do so. I told my supervisor that she needed to write this one down, because it was so excellent. She looked enthused, but when she inquired of them, they responded, "Ok...well...hmmm...what did we say again?" So, practicing my verbatim skills, I will here render it to the best of my ability so my supervisor can write it down herself. The quotes came as a response to a comment of mine that the orientation session seemed long (2 weeks):

Rabbi Kazan: "It is long, but it's not enough. You're being inundated with information that has no practical value to you because you've not been in a clinical situation yet. In two weeks, when you do start making your rounds, you'll encounter hundreds of things about which you'll say, 'We never covered this in orientation.'"

Mr. Wilson: "But CPE isn't about learning all this 'stuff'. Those answers you already have within you. CPE is about discovering yourself and how to find those answers that already lie within."



[Later: I forgot to mention the exchange that took place amongst Fr. Moore, Mr. Wilson and I.

Mr. Wilson: The trouble with CPE for you Episcopal folk is that there isn't a wine and cheese reception on Friday afternoons.

Ryan: How about something on the rocks?

Fr. Moore: Come to my office at 3pm on Fridays. We have a secret meeting.

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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

A Much More Interesting Day

Phew! Today was so much more interesting - as my colleague, the other Ryan, put it: "You can't even compare them. Today was infinitely more helpful." We began the day with an in-depth tour of the hospital and all our potential work sites, beginning on the ground floor with the ER and OR, and moving all the way up to the 12th floor tower where Hospice patients reside. We even took a peek in the morgue in the basement - creepy. That took up the entire morning session, after which we were all 100% confident that we could get lost at any given time, except for on the way to the lunch room. And on that subject - the food here is actually really good! You can actually get a balanced meal (imagine that!) and can, should you so choose, completely avoid starches! Seabury should take notice.

After lunch we ventured back down to the first floor and stopped off at public safety to pick up our name badges and credentials - now we're official! Then we left the actual hospital and walked across the street to the 'White House', where the main CPE offices are located. The remainder of the afternoon session was spent there going over the various areas of the hospital to which we may assign ourselves. The three primary areas are Critical Care (encompassing the ER and all the ICU's, excepting pedeatric and infant ICU's), OB/Pedes (self-explanatory), and Medical/Surgical (everything else). By the end of next week we will need to select the area on which we wish to focus. Right now, I am leaning towards Critical Care. I took one look at the Neo-natal ward and the "Bereavement Closet" where all these tiny baptismal gowns and little baptismal rings are kept for baptism in the case of an In Utero Fetal Demise (IUFD) and said no way can I handle that. Luckily, one lady feels called to this ministry. Medical/Surgical wards would also be fine, but I really feel my gifts are the strongest in times of high anxiety and unsurety. The intensity of a place like the ER excites me and it is in those types of situations that I can function best. But, we'll see how it all goes and I'll be sure to keep you updated. After the discussion about all these different teams, we moved into our small groups and did a round-robin in-depth introduction of ourselves and told a story of a time when we were helped by someone.

We also signed up for our "tag-along" shifts today. My first one is the early morning shift on Friday, from 12:30am-8:30am. Yep, the means a 16 hour work day. Wow. We don't actually have to do anything on this first tag-along, just observe. On the second tag-along shift we will actually be doing stuff, but will have the professional chaplain with us so we can ask questions. I look forward to that, but the thing I am really looking forward to tonight is getting some slurpees with a certain young lady. She takes her last exam today and then will be done. There really is no better way to celebrate the end of a school year than a refreshing, large slurpee. It's a time honored tradition in my family at least. Of course, The Coke flavored one is the best.


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Monday, June 07, 2004

1st Day of CPE

Well, I can't say it was all it was cracked up to be. The solitary emotion I maintained throughout the day was boredom. We had to endure a "System Orientation", followed by a "Site Orientation", all day. The first orientation was nothing but corporate bullshit, which I sure is necessary for the hospital to give. But it is completely geared towards new employees, and not summer interns. We are paying ($400) for this working experience. So, we spent the majority of our morning being indoctrinated into all the reasons why Advocate Healthcare Systems are amazingly wonderful, superbly awesome, and constantly exciting. We even got to perform a role play on how a nurse might handle a complaining patient - how informative for the chaplaincy position. Luckily, we were able to convince them we didn't need to hear the section on employee benefits. Then, in the afternoon we went to our "Site Orientation". Now, I had imagined this would be an overview of the hospital campus, but no, it was largely a repetition of the morning session's highlights. We did, however, get a cookie when we were done. Out of the entire day, I'd say maybe 1.5-2 hours of the material was important, necessary, and/or informative for our role there as CPE students. So, it wasn't all boring. Tomorrow we actually begin learning about our program, so that should be more interesting.

The groups are going to be interesting. I know two out of the other four members of my group: another Seabury student and a recent NU grad who is now attending Virginia Theological. The other two members seem pretty cool - one is a middle aged woman of a UCC background and the other is a Catholic from Vietnam. I don't envy Michael his group. In it is the person who complained twice during the orientation session. Once because a single slide in the slide show presentation featured all white males and a second time because a video we watched portrayed women in negative roles. (Which was untrue - the video showed a couple of scenarios of "red flag" situations. In the first vignette it showed a female doctor who was being racist and in the second it portrayed a male doctor giving an illegal order to a female staff worker who was reticent to complying with the order.) Oh boy....you know, I somewhat feel sorry for folks who do this to themselves - they just seem to make their own lives miserable. I understand and appreciate a legitimate complaint or the pointing out of an inequality, but folks who have an agenda just irritate me.

I am looking forward to tomorrow when we can actually learn more about what we will be doing and schedule out our tag-along sessions. Over the enxt week and a half, we are required to do two "tag-along" on-calls. This means we will tag along with a full chaplain as s/he does their rounds during the night shift (5pm-12:30am) and then another time for the early morning shift (12:30am-8am) to sort of learn the ropes. Then, after that week and a half are over, we are on our own! How exciting! How scary! I'm glad to be done with the orientation stuff though and excited to actually do some good work.


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Sunday, June 06, 2004

Well, Here Goes Nothing

Tomorrow morning, 8 AM, I begin my summer CPE appointment at Lutheran General Hospital. I am anxious, but not too nervous about tomorrow. It is, after all, just the first day and we will be getting oriented and learning the ropes. The tough stuff will come later; perhaps even as early as later this week. I go with the knowledge that the grace of God will always be present to help me carry on in hard times and that, like Moses and Aaron, I will only be the mouthpiece of the Almighty, whose Son knows both suffering and paradise like no other. There is comfort is that. There always has been, for me.

On another note, as aforementioned, tonight was Rev. Jackie Schmitt's last night to celebrate the Eucharist as Chaplain of the Northwestern Canterbury Community. It was a wonderful service with glorious music, an excellent sermon, and senior student reflections during some of which the emotion and sentiment of what Canterbury and Jackie has meant to them was palpable. I will see her later this summer to get prepared for helping out the Assistant Chaplain with the New Student Week and "Common Fire" activities. But still, it was a moment filled with genuineness of feeling. All you had to do to see that was look around the Chapel. It was also a night of leavetakings - leavetakings for the summer and some more semi-permanent for those graduating. People whom I have grown to know and call friends go their separate ways. To you I say may your journies be ever green and golden and may gentle winds blow at your back until you once again come 'round to our doorstep. Until next time, I wish you peace.

For now, I will go and drift off into that land of blissful sleep, for the umpteenth time, only to rise in the morning for a new beginning.


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Busy Few Days

As I hinted would happen when I posted a few days ago, these past few days have definitely lived up to their predicted harrowing pace. Friday, I was up very early in order to get up to St. Luke's Church in Evanston where I was to help prepare the continental breakfast served before Commencement. Fruit cut up, danishes arranged, coffee brewed and poured, I journeyed up the stairs to enjoy a little bit of it myself and have some conversation with those folks whom I would not be seeing after the day was done. All the professors and guests were arrayed in their academic robes (I always think that looks so neat!) and everyone else was in a cassock and/or a surplice. The church itself was amazing! High, vaulted ceilings, huge stone pillars, a glorious East-facing High Altar, an ornate Risen Christ crucifix hanging from above and a huge organ all combined to produce a visage of grandeur difficult to rival. Unfortunately, all that is just a visage, as the parish itself is apparently embroiled in a bitter civil war, and most folks are staying away from their normal services s attention is apparently focused on the conflict rather than the Divine Liturgy. Oh well...

For Commencement itself, I was assigned to chaplain the two recipients of the Doctor of Divinity, Honoris Causa degree: Rev. James M. Barnett, and Rt. Rev. Barbara C. Harris. This was quite an honor given the accomplishments of these two noble persons. Barnett, as you can see from the link above, wrote the book on the permanent Diaconate and Bishop Harris (Ret.) was the first woman elected to a Bishopric in the entire Anglican Communion. She was an absolute hoot - here I am, in awe over being assigned as chaplain to this famous personage in the Episcopal Church and she looks at me and says, "I'm sticking close to you so you can tell me what to do." Both of them were warm and genuine people and it was my honor and privilege to know them for this brief time.

Commencement was a wonderful service, celebrated by our Dean, Rev. Jim Lemler. It was somewhat bittersweet as this will be the last Eucharist service he presides over for Seabury, as he is departing for his new assignment as National Missioner at 815 (815 = National Headquarters address). All the graduates looked resplendant in their hoods as they received them and the extended passing of God's Peace saw its fair share of tears and hugs. I wonder if I'll get emotional when it comes time for me to graduate? I doubt it. The sermon was delivered by Rev. Alan Jones, and, while it was lengthy and sometimes disconnected, it was an eloquent combination of a sermon and a Commencement address. Communion proceeded apace gracefully, as we had five communion stations set up to facilitate the large number of people. The music, played by Dr. Robert Finster, was excellent and spiritually filling. This was also a bit bittersweet, as he is now officially retired. All in all, it was a grand service, followed by a wonderful reception back at the Seminary in the West Garth, which was thankfully graced by cooperative weather. Rushing immediately from the reception, I went to see...

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban!!!

It was awesome! Of the first four books which I have read in this series, this one is my clear favorite. While I will say that I think the fourth is technically the best book, Prisoner of Azkaban was more entertaining to me.

Hurrying from the end credits to get to Friday night supper with the regular crew, I ran out of the theater straightening my tie (having not had the opportunity to change) and adjusting my shirt. Dinner was at a dumb restaurant and so I'll say no more about that.

After supper, we went over the the Seabury apartments and had a campfire. It was a lot of fun and a good end to a great, but stressful day.

And, of course, yesterday was the Cookout! It was so much fun! Despite the 12 cancellations I had that morning (!!!) those who did come had a blast. Burgers flaming on the grill, beer flowing from the coolers, and conversations running the gammut from school to the Pistons, I think we all enjoyed the somewhat ecclectic company of one another. Given the amount of burgers I have left, we'll have to do it again sometime soon. After cleaning up the cookout, I departed with David, Jeff, and Sam to go to a house party of one of Jeff's friends. We stopped off at David's new apartment first to check it out. Wow! The man is living in the lap of luxary! We took our drinks on the private thrid floor balcony overlooking the neighboring beer garden. Ummm...yeah...wow...

Returning home after a long night, I collapsed into bed where I had a dream I was in the Vietname War and was responsible for manning a huge machine gun. Griffin and Pierre seemed to be fighting for the V.C., which is odd, and I did my absolute best not to hit them with the steady stream of lead emitting from the end of the barrel. I hope I missed them!

Now, I am doing precisely what I want to do. It is my last day of freedom, as CPE begins bright and early tomorrow morning. Tonight is not only Jackie's last night to celebrate at Canterbury, but it also the season finale for the Sopranos!! It seems I have another exciting night ahead of me! Woo hoo! And now, I have realized that this post deserves chapter headings, so I am going to sign off. Peace!


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Friday, June 04, 2004

Shrek 2

Wow. I went to see Shrek 2 tonight and was it ever hysterical!! I reccommend it highly!! I laughed so hard and so much - especially at Donkey, to whom I was likened. I smiled the whole way home, once I got in the car, but am not sure the movie was the cause. Spring is in the air. I've always liked spring, especially after a long winter.


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Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Quotes o' the Term

Well, hard though it is to believe, I, along with all my first year Seabury classmates, have finished our junior year of seminary! It's been a struggle, a joy, painful at times, and full of blessings at others. Being the end of the year, it is also the end of the term, which means.......QUOTES O' THE TERM!! Here they are ladies and gentlemen:

"This is our last chance to be asses." ~Jen T.

[After messing up and combining two lines of the General Thanksgiving at Morning Prayer...] "That really outta be just one line anyway." ~Ryan
"It's sort of like speaking in tongues." ~Jeff W.

[After both of us get several words mixed up in a prayer during Morning Prayer...] "When we pray for those in need, we should pray for the illiterate." ~Ryan
"Especially...Jeff, Ryan...are there others?" ~Jeff W.

"There would have been plays, floats, parades, dancing, etc." ~Paula
"Like the Second Homecoming." ~Dan S.

"Maybe it makes a good sermon, except it's not true. I tend to find that a flaw in a sermon." ~AKMA

"Christian Eye for the Pagan Guy." ~AKMA

"Reading is the best way to read." ~AKMA

"This guy has diharrea of the mouth." ~Ryan
"That's called logharrea." ~Michelle

"I used to work in waterbeds...errr...I used to construct waterbeds." ~AKMA

"And Shana can be the athletic supporter." ~Frank Y.

"It's NOT that complicated!" ~AKMA

"Judith is our resident streetwalker." ~Marianna

"You'll not actually be committing exegesis. No one can arrest you for inappropriate textual behavior." ~AKMA

"It's not about the Akmeity of AKMA." ~AKMA


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Pastoral Care class ended early today, so I am sitting in the library being bored. As is sometimes my habit, I visited the archives section of my blog to review old comments and see if any new ones had come in as stragglers. As usual, but never without a small amount of pleasant surprise, I had one. No, this time it wasn't an author. In the comments for my first posting of Monday, March 1, 2004, a person identifying themselves only as "B" wrote in that they had discovered my blog site to be a "googlewhack", which they defined as, "a googlewhack (that is, a one-in-three-billion chance that two dictionary-defined words typed into the google search engine will return only one web site). (You cannot bind them by quotation marks, either)." How cool is that??!! Go to google and type in the magical two words in the search engine: deltoid and filioque. I am the one-in-three-billion chance: only my page pops up. I am honored, surprised, pleased, and amused. But I am also disappointed. How come no one else is talking about the filioque controversy and their deltoids???

Quotes o' the Term to be posted later today!!!


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Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Last Day of the Year Tomorrow

Academic year that is. Yep, after tomorrow, I will have completed my first year of seminary. Hard to believe. Turning in my last assignments tomorrow and then I am done with homework until September. CPE begins on Monday, but there is plenty to look forward to before that commences. Let's see - there's Thursday night's dinner and a movie plans, Friday is Commencement and Harry potter 3, Saturday is my big cookout and Sunday is Jackie's last service celebrated at Canterbury. That's plenty to look forward to for sure. There is one more thing y'all should be looking forward to, adn that is the triannual, End of the Quarter Quotes. They'll go up tomorrow and this quarter, they abound. To get us started, I offer the following quote from the book I am reading right now - Cryptnomicon, by Neal Stephenson. Yes, I realize I started this book long ago, but it's enormous. Anyway, in order to really appreciate the humor in this, you have to understand that the character of Sargeant Shaftoe is sort of your stereotypical dumb military man. Not a great visionary - lots of brawn, little brain. Anyway, I thought this was hilarious:

"'When war broke out there was much reorganization and I [Dr. Rudolf von Hacklheber] became like a bone that several dogs are fighting over. I was moved into Referat Iva of Gruppe IV, Analytical Cryptanalysis, which was part of Hauptgruppe B, Cryptanalysis, which reported ultimately to Major General Erich Fellgiebel, Chief of Wehrmachtnachrichtungenverbindungen.'

Shaftoe looks around at the others, but none of them laughs, or even grins. They must not have heard it. 'Come again?' Shaftoe asks, proddingly, like a man in a bar trying to get a shy friend to tell a sure-fire thigh-slapper.

[...long amounts (7 pages) of explanation about what Dr. von Hacklheber does in greater depth. Shaftoe excuses himself from the room for this...]

When he gets back, von Hacklheber is just winding up. 'It all came down to a problem of sifting through large amounts of raw data - lengthy and tedious work.' Shaftoe cringes, wondering what something would have to be like in order to qualify as lengthy and tedious to this joker."

Now, that's just good writing...


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Of Grocery Stores and Pranks

Why I "love" living in the North:

At the grocery store-

(Produce section of a grocery store. Enter RYAN from stage left, pushing grocery cart. Approaches green peppers, sees an older man standing there perusing the peppers.)

RYAN: How're they looking today sir?
MAN: (long pause) You've got eyes.

(Fade to black.)
(End scene.)

Now, for something more humorous, a brief tale of the exploits of my adventurous little brother. He is 16 years old and a high school sophomore, soon to be junior. As a high school student, Brennan loathes going to the library. First of all, there are books there: the bane of his young existence. So, he seeks other forms of amusement when he must grace those quieted walls. Searching high and low for the perfect book to pull of his prank, he finally comes across the book entited Dealing With Incest. He then locates a hapless, unsuspecting freshman who happens to be away from his bag for the moment. Then, he buries said tome in the bag and waits. When the freshman exits the library, the alarm goes off, indicating someone is walking out with an unchecked-out book: the cardinal sin of the library, next to talking too loudly. The freshman willingly submits to the bag search, knowing he has done no wrong; surely it must be a mistake. Alas, alas, alas for the freshman. On top of the embarrassment of having his bags searched, he suffers the added embarrasment of having the librarian discover Dealing With Incest. The humor at this point should be self-explanatory.


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