By only the 2nd week of CPE (28 weeks to go!) I was already having that “urrrhhhhmmmm” feeling when one of my instructors says, “Maria, I’m going to put you on the hot seat.”
The truth is, CPE is designed to make you uncomfortable. It’s designed to press your theological boundaries. It’s designed to help you understand where your most closely held beliefs come from. This is because of the importance of keeping “your stuff” out of pastoral ministry, and specifically to focus on the needs of, in this case, the patient.
I couldn’t even write about it last week b/c it still felt a little raw, and talking about my feelings is a “scary object” much in the way a plastic grocery bag is a scary object for an equine. The first impulse is to run away. This evolves into looking at it from a distance, and only then approaching it, step by step.
It’s already apparent my way of dealing with the often asked question, “How do you feel about that?” is for me to walk around the barn a few times and THINK about how I feel about that, before zoning in on naming the feeling. I am discovering at my advanced age, I have not named a lot of my feelings. Mostly I used anger or offense to avoid naming them. Well, the chickens have sure come home to roost there!
I am hoping at the end of these 30 weeks, I can at least name more feelings than I could before.