My life is about to change, I have been working on something for almost five years now, and it is finally coming to fruition. I was accepted into a CPE (clinical pastoral education) program at a local hospital and I will be a resident Chaplain for the next year. These last few weeks are a bit of the countdown and rest period before that work starts.
There is this giant change coming, and I am nervous, excited and everything in between. However there are so many questions, that won’t have answers until I am in a room with a patient, until I know a clinical assignment, until I start and get my feet on the ground. If you have learned anything about me, one I like plans, and two my life is pretty much built around routine. So going from full-time wife and part-time volunteer to full-time chaplain, school and full-time wife, is a bit daunting right now.
With all the uncertainty and change looming, I feel pretty anxious about the future. Reading through the material for this upcoming residency is exciting and intimidating. However I made a mistake last night before bed, I was reading through the syllabus for one of the units and my internal bully started spinning. It started telling me there was no way I could do this, I have never done it before, I don’t know how and I am just going to fail. Needless to say it resulted in a pretty restless night.
I got up in the morning, feeling exhausted, depleted and drained. So I put clothes on, went down to the gym and started walking until it was light enough out to go walking down to the bayou. I ran some errands and when I got home to start working on my studies, the bully was there right next to me.
I had no response, I truly had no response. So I walked away from my computer for a second, and sat. I stopped arguing with the bully, I stopped trying to find ways to prove it wrong. I just sat for a long time. Thinking, looking for something in my heart, something that I had to offer that no one else in this program would. (Which is another fool’s errand, because I don’t know the people yet.).
Then I remembered before I left to go grocery shopping I asked Adam, “what are my skills, what am I good at?” This is not false modesty looking for a compliment, this was a sincere question, this was me telling Adam, I don’t see it right now, help me. He started talking and I quickly got ready to leave. As he made a joke about not being able to handle a compliment, I made an excuse.
While I was sitting there with this bully, I thought “why the fuck does this bully have more say in my life, then Adam?” I made a list, a very short list of the people whose opinions I really cared about, the only people with authority to put me in my place, to help me see reality and to encourage me. The fucking bully is not on that list. So I told the bully over and over, “you are not on my list.”
I thought of the few people on my list. I thought about things they had said about me, about my ability to listen, my ability to make someone feel safe, my ability to articulate myself and the fact that I am a good fit for this job. None of them have told me it will be easy and all of them have said they believe in me, they are proud of me, and they love having me as a part of their life. What else would I want the people I am closest in the world to say about me at my funeral? That I enriched their lives. Again those people are real, the bully is not.
My list is who I trust, the people I seek out for their honest opinions and the people I trust to help me change my focus to what is real.
Question of the day: Who is on your list? When is the last time you truly listened to them and absorbed what they had to say about you and how you enrich their lives?