Monday, June 30, 2008

Today (Monday) was awesome! I talked to the other chaplains at HSC about whether or not it would be a good idea to put prayer request boxes on each of the units (idea I’m totally thankful to have stolen from one of the other women in the program!). I’m getting to try it out on both my units (step down rehab and pediatric) to see what the response is. If the response is good, maybe it’ll get to be tried out on the other units of the hospital (and my units can get some kind of boxes that are more permanent...right now they are card board boxes).

When I went on the pediatric unit today, I brought a puppet that I recently remembered I had (my aunt made it for something I did in high school...and made it in a wheelchair etc. to look like me). For the most part, it was a big hit (one of the really little girls cried at first...but other than that everyone really liked it)! Even the staff seemed to like it.

Also, on the pediatric unit, when I was talking to one of the nurses about the prayer boxes, we were also talking about me possibly doing a service on the pediatric unit. I would love to do something patients and their families and the staff would all be able to come to and be a part of if they wanted to. (I started thinking about this after going to the service they already have in place on one of the other units.) The nurse I spoke with is going to talk to the head of the unit and we’ll all hopefully talk more and put something in place!

Sadly, I’m realizing we only have a month left (how did that happen?) I’m hoping everything I’ve mentioned really works out and gets rolling before this unit is over. Or if I do another unit, maybe God will open the door to my being placed there again and keeping things going. And if I don’t end up doing another unit, maybe I can still be connected to the hospital somehow and see that things continue to progress!

On a different note, I’m still struggling with the whole “interfaith” idea. Maybe that’s something the group will talk about, in light of some of the discussions that happened on Friday. But I had an interesting encounter with one of the chaplains and a staff member today. The chaplain seemed to totally be pushing her “you’re OK, I’m OK” agenda on the staff member, which the staff member seemed to me to clearly be saying she didn’t agree with. I could see the staff member getting visibly frustrated and she was late to go back to work, so the conversation was pretty short). The chaplain said that she’ll continue to “check in” etc. but even with me seemed to be pushing her agenda since she thinks she clearly knows what I believe and wants to “stretch my theology” and “make me more open”. But what she didn’t seem to see is that my comments and hopefully the encounters she has with people who don’t necessarily buy “I’m OK, you’re OK”, are to stretch HER theology and make her more open as well. She seemed to say, too, that if I wasn’t able to view things that way, maybe chaplaincy isn’t for me...but is chaplaincy necessarily only for people who buy into every view out there? And is it really possible to be the type of person who buys into everything...or is there a point where that becomes a contradiction and it’s just not possible to say that “everything” is OK. When I asked what the word “OK” meant, too, there really was no can people who SAY they buy into everything really explain what that means...or do they just not want to admit that it’s not possible to buy into EVERYTHING. Is there a point in time where, even as a chaplain, it’s better to be honest about what we believe and relate to people in that way...and is that time possibly from the very beginning? (So that patients and families etc. get an accurate picture of whom they are relating to and can decide which KIND of chaplain to go to....maybe part of the problem is that it’s all under one umbrella.) I know for me, I would MUCH rather talk to someone about faith based things (especially when I’m in a vulnerable state like being in the hospital) who shares my faith. That’s when I’m much more likely to open up. If someone were to come to me as a chaplain and not disclose what faith background they’re from and say that they serve people from all backgrounds, I have a feeling I would be less likely to open up if I open up at all.

Edit: I found out Wednesday that because DCF etc. would have to get involved, I probably won't be able to do a worship service on the pediatric floor. We're actually not even allowed to read them faith-based stories etc. unless it's noted that we have permission from the family. It all sounds complicated and frustrating. At least I can spend time with the kids and make them laugh or hold their hand when they're afraid etc., but man...

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