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I now know what I'm doing this summer.  In a word, Trauma.  Lots and lots of trauma.  Oh yeah, ministry and learning too.  I have been accepted into the summer Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program at the Washington Hospital Center.  The unit runs from June 1st until August 20th.

I applied to two different places, WHC and the NIH-Clinical Center.  Part of me wanted to have to make a decision between the two.  But perhaps the Holy Spirit intervened.  Left to my own devices and desires, I may have opted for the easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy site at NIH.  It is a research hospital which does not do emergency anything. While pain, suffering and death can be part of that experience, its not the gory and glory experience of a metropolitan city trauma hospital.  I was beginning to hear myself when Heart Of My Heart and I would tell couples on Engaged Encounter weekends to read all the questions we provided them for dialogue; if any question stood out as one they really didn't want to write on, that was likely the one on which they needed to focus.  I think maybe I was hoping to steer clear of WHC, but the Spirit intervened.

NIH gave me a polite No for their program.  I was one of three vying for the last spot in their program.  My student mentor had been there last summer and he had much positive to say about his experience.  I had even remarked in the interview that the opportunity to serve and learn there felt a bit like thanksgiving for the role NIH had played in my sister's life so many years ago.  There was some rationale given in the rejection letter regarding issues of diversity and group dynamics which had to be considered along with qualifications.  Okay.  I choose to believe that even while NIH said No to me, it was really the Spirit saying Yes to WHC. 

It actually fits a bit better for a few reasons.  My side of the clan will be gathering in VA the end of May.  I'd invited everyone to come to hear me preach at my sending parish.  My father is coming down from New England, so the rest of the family will flock around him.  I/we will be able to spend time with everyone and enjoy being together before CPE begins.  Also, I'll be on the far side of my trip into the pulpit at Grace. 

The Spirit moved, and I move with it.  Almighty Father, your Seeking Servant prays for guidance.  Keep it coming, Lord!