Sunday, June 27, 2010

New Blog Location...

Check it out. I will still post on this sometimes, but wordpress is where its at for the most part!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I'm not poor...

Old post from August that I found looking for old pics of art...

I have graduated from Seminary and got blindsided by the real world. I am having a hard time this summer because I am kind of stuck in no woman's land. I am supposed to do CPE in the fall. Maybe... I want to get a job. I need to get a job. I really NEED to get a job.
I have applied everywhere. I have tried calling, personally showing up, mailing in my resume and a cover letter, emailing, using the online sites for finding jobs... How does one get a job? It was suggested that I quit putting that I have a masters degree on my resume so I will cease to be overqualified.

I just have to wait. Why organizations feel it is fair for them to leave weeks between initial contact and asking you to interview, then more weeks before they decide not to hire you is beyond me. Churches are just as bad. I need a job like yesterday. I have been in a job finding frenzy since I realized I would not be at UrbanSpirit this summer. It is incredible how stressful this is.

I was discussing the things I really cannot afford but are things I take for granted with one of my friends and she said to me, "Marie you have never had to live without money have you."
She is right. I never really have. I lived and worked last summer at a poverty immersion program, but I still had an apartment to go home to and a bank account (full of student loans) to support my needs when I ran out of options... Now, when it runs out its all gone and there is nothing I can do but go home with my tail between my legs... I don't want to do that. But why would that be so bad? What is the worst thing that could happen?  I would be ashamed? I would live with my parents? I would turn thirty having accomplished nothing but a masters degree and an ever increasing pile of debt... Really I don't want to know, but at least I wouldn't be dead.

What I keep thinking about is that I can at least go home, what about the people who feel this everyday that have no other options. Who if they cannot make their car payment will have their car taken away or who if they get sick might not be able to pay for a cure (if there is one)... The anxiety that I feel about potentially not being able to pay bills is just eating away at me. Its hard to get things done when you are worrying all the time. Also because I am busy constantly trying to do every odd job that comes along because I have to be able to have money.  It runs my life and I hate it.  I loathe money, the need for it and the lack of it.  I would rejoice if I won Publishers ClearingHouse or the lottery though.  It would be nice not to worry, but then I would have a whole set of new worries. 

Ani Defranco says in one of her songs 'Back when I had a little, I thought that I needed a lot.  A little was over rated, but a lot was a little too complicated. You see-Zero didn't satisfy me, A million didn't make me happy. That's when I learned a lesson. That it's all about your perception'  - I listen to this, to lots of music like this and I wonder what is my deal?  Great, I have a little, I shouldn't have any worries, but having a little doesn't provide peace of mind.  The poor aren't nice pets to be admired and put back into their cages when we are ready to retreat back to the middle class bubble.  I am so angry with myself for not being capable of being satisfied with what I (can) have.  I am also frustrated with the system that allows obscene stratification of wealth and that doesn't even care that people suffer because of it. 

I guess I also feel invisible.  My friends have jobs and significant others, I don't really see them because I have to work every insane odd job that I can take.  Who cares that I am scared? There are so many people out there, living in houses, apartments, cars and street corners that are scared that have no one.  I guess I should count my blessings, but tonight I wish I could count dollars... :(

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

walk these halls...

Each day I enter the hospital, trudging through two parking lots and downtown insane traffic, cut through the back Emergency Department entrance and weave my way through the Emergency Department main desk area.  Dodging moaning patients in transport beds on the way to X-rays I badge out and breathe for a second as I reach my key down and unlock the door to our closet of an office.  Opening the door I hardly even notice the key whip back into place on my spring loaded name tag holder and I sit for a minute and listen to the walls.  Literally, because our office shares a wall with the the psychiatric department, and I listen for more than just sound.
The chaplains have a ritual for handing over the on call beeper.  First, because you have been alone with the weight of crises care for the whole hospital on your shoulders for 8 hours, the chaplain gushes about the day, what happened, who died, who survived, how families are doing, where they are and who needs a visit.  The incoming chaplain takes this opportunity to listen, to hear between the lines to be sure their colleague isn’t drowning in this sloshbowl of information.
Its an overwhelming position, chaplain.  More happens in a day than is possible for a human being to take in at one time… ever.  It is intimidating, especially in a culture where our iron grip on the surface level distractions cannot be budged except by a power outage.  Unfortunately, as chaplain, this is an impossible posture.  Everyday we gather ourselves and turn from our own lives to face the raw energy and unbridled emotions compulsively rush forth from those impacted by a crisis, death or sickness.  We are the bottom line, we are the roots, the way back to reality for these folks, and this listening we do at the beginning of a shift is what grounds us in our day.  It is sort of like putting your uniform on I guess.
Then the incoming chaplain gives an update on themselves and how they are doing and we pray.  I find that my prayers during this time have a phrase that they cannot shake.  It just bangs around in my head until I eventually rattle it out… ‘walk these halls…’ God be with me as I walk these halls (I chuckle about this as I say the world ‘walk’ because its more like a trot, a cha-cha and a marathon all mixed up together).  These halls, here in the hospital are sacred.  The rooms are intimidating, they hold life, stories, machines and medicines.  The halls hold people who are trying their damndest to keep their shit together long enough to figure out whats going on.  For doctors and nurses it seems to be a natural habitat.  For chaplains, I think we are more of interlopers in this community.  We dont come with medicine or tasks to fulfill.  Instead we bear with us comfort, presence and hope.
We dont walk these halls on our own, we pray every day for God to go with us into that crazy jungle out there.  To attend to each camp and be a grounding wire for them in their shock, fear and anxiety that washes over folks, like waves in a storm.
It isn’t an easy job on the feet, walking shoes are required.  It is an active job, stamina is required and so is fuel.  This time we spend praying at the beginning of each shift is our fuel.  Our supervisor like to say we need to ‘eat the word’ each day.  In taking the opportunity to listen to our colleagues and to help them digest what they have been through, and to pray it out of these walls, I think we do get the fuel to keep on walking another day.
I thought I was getting tired of the same old phrase ‘walk these halls…’  I dont think I can stop using it, it will have to be a mantra.  Its so literal – yes, for a living I do walk up and down hallways, I do inhabit the gray space between nurses counter/dr’s office and patients room.  It is also a metaphor for Christian life isn’t it?  We live in the world but we are not of the world.  I can see it now clearly in this way.  As a Chaplain I connect people with each other and sometimes with reality, as a christian I connect my experience in the world with my knowledge and experience of God.  Walking these halls of life is just as much a challenge as chaplaincy isn’t it then.
Its a facinating little phrase.  Maybe its a call to loosen my white-knuckled grip on the surface level and allow myself to descend into my life, to really be a full participant in my life.  Perhaps I should see that God does offer me a grounding wire of hope through my too often neglected faith.  In these halls, God assures me that my Creator understands the explosive, primitive and uncontrollable emotions that I brew myself in the basement of myself.
These halls are a strange territory in the current world.  The economy is crashed, the world is warming, people are starving and fighting wars over oil, diamonds and that metal that makes cellphones vibrate… Those who can afford it escape into virtual palaces made of sites, sounds and silliness and those who cant march warily along side the rest of us.  They beckon us into the halls, just for a second, to tell us something, but its too hard, to scary,  facebook is better, youtube is safely hilarious.
Its hard to be in these halls, but we have to, we are called to poke around in these places that can feel unprotected and serious. We do have protection and grounding though, God watches over us, providing help as we walk these halls… Help in what manner no one can predict, only watch for.