As I reflect on the fact that I have now spent 29 years on this planet, I have realized that my life has been anything but boring. I am at the point in my life where I can see where I’ve been and imagine what I want my future to be. I have my share of regrets and but overall I’ve accomplished quite a bit. I’ve graduated from high school, earned a bachelor’s degree. I’ve spent 3 years living and teaching in Slovakia. I’m 2/3 through my master’s of divinity program (I didn’t even think grad school was for me). I am spent a year working as a Chaplain and I’m off to start my internship with Grace Lutheran in Petersburg,WV. I’ve been able to meet people and go places others have only wished about. I am truly blessed.
There are still things in life I want to do. I want to travel, I want to have a family, most important I want to know I’ve made a mark in the universe. I am looking forward to completing my training as a Lutheran pastor. I look forward to sharing my life with somebody and being a father. I look forward to having a legacy.
As I look back on the year in particular, It has been marked extraordinary transformation. I feel my eyes have been opened. In my ways I’ve feel I’m finally a man, rather than a scared little boy. I’ve had quite a few bumps and bruises as I’ve spent the year looking at my self. Coming to terms with the flaws of my family, the flaws in myself. I have learned to embrace myself as a flawed man striving for God. I’ve had to learn to love me as God loves me and reclaim what I want for myself as a man.
This revelation has been because of 2 things, my work as a Chaplain in my CPE residency and the break-up of a significant relationship.
My work as a Chaplain at Palmetto Health has been very demanding. I have experienced pain, suffering, joy and sorrow that most people never get exposed to. I’ve seen people die in the trauma bay, I’ve been with families as loved ones die, I’ve walked with patients who were critical and now are healed. It has been basically an emotional rollercoaster. It has been an exhausting year. My work as a Chaplain is in coordination with a chaplain training education CPE. This process involved intense group work that digs deep into understanding who you are to better serve and be with patients. There have been moments this year where I have discovered things about myself I didn’t like. I have had to learn to love parents as flawed humans being rather than the perfect examples of life I have held them up to be. I think the biggest thing I’ve had to do is dig deep and learn to love me for who I am rather what everybody else says. I spent the first half the year living into patterns of self-sabotage. Allow myself to live in shame and fear. I don’t want to do that anymore. I do have a choice and I’ve learned to recognize those patterns in my life and now I can do something about it. I can choice who I want to be rather than blaming my parents or my circumstances.
The second thing this year that has had major impact was the break-up with my girlfriend. I was in a very emotional place when she decided to end our relationship. She was a source of strength and joy especially as I was trying to rediscover who I was and coming to terms with understanding myself. I was devastated. I can blame her for a lot of things (which is unfair on my part) but in many ways her ending our relationship was a catalyst for me to figure out who I really am and learn to love myself rather than relying on somebody else. I went through anger, sorrow and feeling like I was unloved and unlovable. For a while I resented her but I figured out it was easier to continue loving her from a distance than to hate her. I still care for her deeply. Despite her reasons for ending our relationship, I still think we could have had something great. I know I’m flawed but I know she made me a better person. I think about her most moments of the day. I still love her more than she’ll ever realize but maybe my love wasn’t enough for her. I’m still hoping she’ll figure it out. I hope she can learn to lower her guard and let somebody’s love be enough.
God has used this year despite all its deep valleys to make me a stronger person, to mold me into a man who is ready for the challenges the rest of my life will bring.