Today's my last day of work. It's been looming all week (and who would ever think of Friday as looming?) and now that it's here, I'm just about ready to head back to Detroit. We celebrated my CPE journey at the hospital yesterday afternoon with a gathering of chaplains over many different types of pie (cake is cliche) and last night we celebrated Eucharist, had a community faith-sharing, and then enjoyed a lovely dinner.
Upon learning that tomorrow would be my last day, one of the nurses took the time to inquire about what it was, exactly, that I did for a living (given the varying schedule of the nurses, some don't know that I'm a Jesuit). I gave a good explanation and she seemed utterly exasperated to learn how much traveling I've done this last year. And, as I look back upon my blog, I really have been all over the place - literally, in terms of geographic location, and affectively, in terms of emotion and processing.
This has been a graced experienced, a time of learning how one incarnates God's mercy on a day-to-day basis, a time of learning how to enact the hospitality of the Lord. There has been gains and victories as well as heartbreaking losses. I am different now, changed in ways I could not have expected four months ago. More battered, more broken, more deeply wounded, more fully human.
I have to laugh that over the last few months, my posts have been decidedly un-funny. With luck, this will change as I leave the crucible of hospital work and move into the antics of Loyola House.
So I bid adieu to my patients and co-workers and friends today. They have been such a wonderful part of this journey and, I suspect, hardly any of them will ever know how much they've meant to me. I guess I can summarize the movement of my time here by saying that the point of entrance for me was to discover what it meant to be a Jesuit in ministry. Today, I leave having learned about ministry, about humanity, about myself. Today I will walk out of the hospital a changed man, humbled by my own realized limitations and graced in so many ways. In January I walked through the hospital doors seeking to learn about ministry and, today, I will walk out those doors having claimed my identity as a minister.