The Taser's Edge

Turkey Day Comes Early

In February I got a job,
In June I started a job,
In November I started looking for a job,
In March I got offered two jobs,
In April I turned down two jobs,
In May I finish this job,
Come June I will be unemployed.

Sounds like a poem, and as everyone knows, poems (unless I am mixing them up with Disney movies) always have happy endings.

Yes, May 31st will be the last day of my chaplaincy residency at Duke Hospital and Duke Hospice.  This is an occasion of thanksgiving…

Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love.

We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side.

We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.

We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.

Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life
again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.

Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.

Why is it a time for thanksgiving?

  • I didn’t just end a job and I didn’t just leave it.  Truly I completed the job I signed up for over a year ago.
  • At the end of this marathon-endurance-requiring year, I am finishing up like you are supposed to finish a race–totally exhausted, nothing more to give.  My final eval from my final unit says basically that.  One of the reasons I could never be a competitive athlete is the fact that you’re supposed to use up all the reserve of energy you have by the time you cross the finish line.  To me, the pain isn’t worth it.  Yet in this chaplaincy residency, the pain has been worth it.  I hit a wall and kept running.  Then it seemed like another wall, and another, and another, and another.  And at the end of this race, I can truly say that I used up all my reserves.  I have nothing more to give (1:23 on viewer’s left).  Doesn’t feel like a good thing to my worn out spirit, but the sense of achievement is (or is becoming, as perspective is a work in progress) terrific. 
  • I have security.  When it began to seem like I would end this residency without a job beyond it, I could commiserate with the so many unemployed today.  But there are a lot of differences.  Holly has a job so I will continue to have food to eat, a roof over my head, a reliable car (which was itself a gift), and even Netflix.  We have savings.  We don’t have kids to worry about providing for.  And then, even if Holly did lose her job and we ran through ‘everything’ we have, I could easily name 5 or more households who would take us in.

So many things I could pick out of that Prayer of Thanksgiving from the Book of Common Prayer which speak to me this afternoon at the end of this year: “all you have done for us…wonder of life…mystery…blessing of family and friends…surrounds us on every side…tasks which demand our best efforts…accomplishments which satisfy and delight us…dissapointments and failures…dependence on you…Jesus Christ…in all things.”  Amen!

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