The Taser's Edge

Some final thoughts before beginning my residency

This morning I am sitting in a Duke South lobby area.  I have been here since 6:40am, when Holly dropped me off on her way to work.

Not a great day to start a new job.  In the first place, I am not great at changes/transitions, and this is major.  After 20 years straight (except that one semester off of undergrad), I am leaving school and getting a real job for which I have been specially trained and equipped.  That is, I have had a full-time job before, but it was at Walgreen’s for a couple summers.  This is different.  This is the beginning of a career, not necessarily of chaplaincy but of ministry.

In the second place, I am not good with the unknown, and this is all unknown.  Yes, I did my CPE internship at Duke Hospital and my M.Div. at Duke Divinity, and I already know Durham, so I already have a leg up on some of my fellow residents, but there is still a lot I don’t know.  Where will my clinical area be?  How well will our group gel together?  (After my semester internship in which the group members became good friends, but after hearing horror stories of what happens when group members don’t get along, and all with the knowledge that either way we will be together from today until the end of next May, this is an important concern.)

Then there are the longer term questions.  I have no idea how deeply and in what ways this residency year will affect me, my relationship to Holly, to God, to the church, to my calling.  Where will we be headed in a year?  It’s a lot of big stuff.

With all that boiling in the back of my brain, I found Friday-Sunday of the past week filled with the thought that Sunday was the last day of my life.  It wasn’t.

But it was the last day of Prudence Wakefield’s (our beloved greyhound’s) life.  I hadn’t made the connection between those two thoughts until today.  Yesterday afternoon Holly took Pru out for a hike with Courtney and her dog, Lucy.  It wasn’t 85 degrees, the walk was in the shade, but then Prudence started acting strange, finally jumping under some bushes, apparently to try to cool herself.  Holly rushed for some water, they hustled Prudence into the car (carried her), but she died on the way to the vet in the back of our car.  Heat stroke, we assume, as we have some friends in our church small group who also lost a greyhound to heat stroke out on the Outer Banks a few years ago.  In short, it was awful.

Holly and I distracted ourselves with a few episodes of Entourage online (a supreme distraction if ever there was one).  Courtney and Max surprised us by showing up long enough to drop off a pizza.  And we received many promises for prayers and kind thoughts for us.  Thanks, everyone.

Then Holly and I got up this morning (I didn’t sleep past four, anyway) and went to work.  Then I got here and realized I don’t have my wallet (including the picture ID I need for orientation stuff today) or a pen, two things which I carry with me even when I take a bike ride.

It’s 7:57.  Orientation time.  Really, I am okay.  I am well.

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