The Final Four: Here We Go!!!

68 teams and down to this.  Gotta love the craziness.  Gotta love the way these teams play.  I love the players left too: Matt Howard, Shelvin Mack, Jamie Skeen, Brandon Knight, and Kemba Walker!!!  This is absolutely awesome!  I didn’t see VCU or Butler here, like everyone else, but they deserve to be here and make for some really thrilling anticipation!

At last, the anticipation becomes reality and the Final Four is here!  And I’m going!  My predictions just before I head off:

Butler over VCU  AND   Connecticut over Kentucky

Looking forward to it!

A Tough Time

This was a long week.  But it got longer this week when I went to my consultation committee for my CPE experience.  Everyone who goes through CPE goes through the consultation around the Medical Center.  The meeting is a great opportunity to better your ministry through the feedback of other already certified and experienced chaplains.

Yet my opportunity was not as fulfilling as I was hoping.  We got stuck talking about one issue for almost the entire time.  The group got stuck talking about more personal issues than actually discussing my pastoral care and ministry issues.  The more we talked about my personal issue, namely, the history of wilderness in my life and sometimes feeling alone and distanced from God, the more I felt awful and terrible and barren about my life, even though I think I have made great strides and grown in my relationship with others and God.  It felt like I was heard as someone who had made no progress and who still saw himself as lonely and uncared for and empty of God’s presence.  The more we talked the more I felt like I was back to being the early CPE student and felt that my current state was disregarded as meaningless.

Further, I felt humiliated at some point.  I felt humiliated because I felt I was acknowledging the insights of my group that in a particular visit I was interpreting and forcing the patient to my opinion than letting them air their feelings and fears.  I acknowledged it not only in that visit but a great temptation that I have been working on throughout my CPE program.  But I felt like my acknowledgment wasn’t enough.  I felt like they had to go further to prove that I wasn’t putting the patients’ needs at top priority and had to make me say that thee visits were about me more than my patients.  Some of that is true- and I acknowledged that.  But it was frustrating and humiliating as I felt like my own admission of my pastoral weaknesses was exhausted to feeling hurt.

Now, they did give me helpful insights and helped me understand myself a little more.  They helped me understand why I might have some difficulties in friendships and that I can forced intimacy in pastoral visits.  But those things I had already acknowledged and written about before I got there.  Yet they still gave me helpful insights, but along the way the process felt more hurtful and angering and frustrating.  This is supposed to be a helpful time, an opportunity for growth and exploration.  But this was not the way it was supposed to go.  It was real, real tough.  And I am still feeling it course through my veins today.