I’m several days into training as a hospital chaplain. I’m scrambling. It’s been a long time since I learned a new role. Everything that had been a habit about work has changed. Different direction to drive. Different building. Different conversations. Different organizational structure.
That’s how it felt for a couple days. Until I realized that I knew some of the people. It’s what happens when you live in a place for a couple decades. I knew some of the conversational contexts. It’s what happens when you talk with people in pain and doubt and need for several years. I recognized the hierarchy.
And I realized that I am still learning what those around me have been practicing for much longer. I am in that middle space of knowing some things, but learning a new way to live with them.
In the middle of the first full week of Lent, we’re struggling to learn how to incorporate our various commitments into the flow of our lives. And it feels a little awkward, a little like guaranteed failure. But we’re not failing. We’re learning. We’re adjusting our lives to make room for the changes that will bring us more abundant life.
In my training, I’m learning to ask for help. I’m asking questions. I’m watching how other chaplains handle similar situations differently.
And I started to impose my own internal order on the processes.
- RACE is what I need to do when we are called to trauma situations. Respond. Assess. Care. Explain.
- PEACE is what I need to bring when I go to a room for more routine things. Pray. Enter. Assess. Care. Exit.
Before I can bring help to the situation, I need to bring order to my heart. And my new acronyms help.
Lent can be helped by the same kind of asking, the same kind of developing systems. And with the same kind of praying that is going into my training.
For those who are curious, the hospital chaplain role will be on-call after I finish my training. Kind of like my social media chaplain role.