My seminary bestie and I are in a writing group with our preaching professor’s wife! I’ll spare the details of our absolute nerd freak out while waiting for Carol last Monday night at Panera. When Carol arrived, we all had a great time catching up over dinner and writing for 30 minutes on a prompt, and sharing what we wrote with each other. It was a wonderful time and I’m so excited to have the chance to do writing exercises as a part of daily life again. Ha! Who knew we didn’t have to be in a classroom to do the things we learned to do in class?
On this particular Monday, we wrote on the prompt “What Time is it in Your Life?”
Today, the oncoming duty chaplain couldn’t find me so she asked the staff on the third floor “have you seen the chaplain in the tutu?” “Not since this morning,” the nurse replied. What time is it in my life? It’s time to find creative ways to strip chaplaincy of its grim reaper/death angel aura and promote in its place nostalgia, innocence, humanity. At its core, chaplaincy is about making connections and holding another’s nostalgia in tension with his or her current reality; somber or otherwise.
Last week in mid-unit evaluations, all the residents who shared stated wanting to hear my voice more. What time is it in my life? It’s time to remember the voice I found at McAfee and put it to good use equally across the blogosphere, the CPE classroom and the pulpit.
This weekend, I made a new visiting tutu, a much better one and I mustachioed my old blue loafers, repurposing them with patterned duct tape into the funnest shoes I’ve ever had. With each silly, creative step out I take at work, my pastoral authority grows stronger. What time is it in my life? It’s time to give myself permission to believe and to act on the belief that Jesus had a sense of humor, dressed up for Halloween, had funny voices when reading to kiddos and probably would have worn a Superman cape had he been a hospital chaplain.
When I started seminary, I didn’t really know who I was or who I wanted to be. What I did know was that I needed a Master of Divinity to get a job as a hospital chaplain – which was my ultimate goal. So I came, prepared to work, get my degree and go. Back then, it was time to buckle down and plow through. Now, I’ve made it to where I wanted to be. What time is it in my life? It’s time to look to the future with a thankful eye on the past. It’s time to make the most of a residency that is two months in and flying by way too quickly. It’s time to let the tutu and the mustache shoes give way to the creative voice that stayed locked away for far too long.
If you had told me ten years ago that by 30, I would be working in a children’s hospital and spend my days walking around from room to room wearing a sparkly pink and purple tutu, I would have laughed in your face and maybe gotten a little bit mad. No way. My thirty isn’t supposed to be like that. What you mean to say is that by 30, I’ll have been married for five years with a son, Cadence and a daughter, Melody in a nice house with a dog named Sebastian, right?
What time is it in my life? It’s time to re-imagine, re-invent and re-purpose my thirty. What if becoming Christ’s prophetic voice became more important than some dream life I concocted for myself while all my friends were getting married after college? What if being the truest version of myself so far became my life journey instead?
What time is it in my life? It’s time to be thankful: for parents and sisters and friends, for trees and flowers. It’s time to be thankful: for music and books and writing and singing. It’s time to be thankful: for preaching and pulpits, vestments and liturgy. It’s time to be thankful: for children, puppies, guinea pigs and bunnies. For fall, and boots and scarves. It’s time to be thankful: for coffee and journals, hospitals, prayers and tutus.