Thursday, February 9, 2012

An All Positive Change

All positives. Is it possible to make a major life change that isn't a rejection or discarding of what was before the change? Is it possible to do this with any change? I think so. It may sound a little on the Polly Anna side of life but I really think this is possible as least with some changes.

Take for instance getting married. Nope, I didn't like being single but when I met Mark and we fell in love and got married that dislike for being single had nothing to do with it. It was very simply a change, a profound change from "he's an interesting guy" to "I can't imagine life without him in it." Take John. We wanted kids from the moment we were engaged, we both were hurt and had grieved our barrenness but when the opportunity to adopt John came along these things had nothing to do with it, again it was all very simple. John needed parents who could love him and care for him and we couldn't imagine doing anything other. Many choices in our lives have been this way, from homeschooling to eating more fresh veggies, so much in life is and has been driven by a choosing to do something as opposed to a rejection of the other possibilities.

At this point in life we find ourselves faced with another of these all positive kinda changes. Mark started taking CPE classes, Clinical Pastoral Education, training to be a hospital chaplain right before John went in for transplant, then stopped because the transplant was too much to do anything other than take care of John and me and his churches and then started again this past summer. He started this training for many reasons but in quite short order his reasons distilled down to two:
1. He saw a deficiency in himself, a future as a bitter old man who blamed others for his troubles and what he was learning and could learn more of in CPE showed him that he could leave that future of bitterness behind him and be someone better.
2. CPE gave him an opportunity to learn to care for people in a way that was deeper and more meaningful than he had been able to do before and anyone who has ever truly known my dearest love has known that deep inside he is all about caring for others, especially for those who are weak and hurting.

With two units of CPE training in the next logical step is more training and more intense training at that and that comes in a residency. A series of CPE classes over nine months or a year with the same supervisor and peer group, the same hospital setting and a spiraling up of responsibility and intensiveness that leads to, well we don't know where, but leads to being more of whom he has realized that he loves in himself and in his ability to give himself to others. Mark actually rejected the idea of applying for residencies because he loves and truly cares for the people of his two small congregations and for many local and area people too and knows that John and I are also quite attached to many here and in Marshall and Columbia. A lady at church says that 'choices have consequences' and they do and the choice to even look at residency has the consequence that one might be offered and leaving our home may be the next step.

Finally Mark's brother spent enough time talking with him and helped him to see that it wasn't wrong to see if God was leading us this way, no matter what came of a residency search Mark still had the choice to walk through a door, if opened, or to not do so. So Mark and I sat down together and read through many residency offerings, looking at the hospitals involved and the programs and how they spoke of themselves. In the end we picked eight that looked like good matches for what Mark wants to learn and how he wants to proceed in this education. He applied for all eight places, not knowing if he would receive even one interview, it is not unheard of for CPE students to apply for several years before they get an interview, or a residency, if they ever do. Of the eight that were chosen we each had favorites, the same three and within a very short time of the applications going out he had interviews at the favorite three and was offered the residency at the first interview. Not only was the residency offered but Mark came away from the interview feeling that he could trust the supervisor and that is in and of itself quite a huge deal as the supervisor is essentially given permission by the participant to get inside their head and heart and shape and mold and work to push them to further and further learning. Mark has the other two interviews to go to, and has already turned down the opportunity to interview with two other places, that's a total of five of the eight to which he applied. We will be doing this traveling and his interviewing the last few weeks of February.

It comes down to another all positive choice, and this impacts many people, not just us. This choice is constantly on our minds, ever present in our prayers and talked about between us and between people that Mark and I both trust with this decision again and again and again. Much like getting married or adopting John this has nothing to do with leaving, nothing to do with not loving the people that we are in the midst of or even the town in which we live, this choice in the end is a choice to learn, a choice to grow and yes, even a choice to go and see what adventures lay ahead of us. There will always be things here that draw our hearts and minds back with fondness and concern, and should God leave us in a geographic possibility ourselves to come back to see and visit and share. We don't yet know where we go from here, but we know that it is time for Mark to take this step to be more than he has ever been before and probably more that even he can see that he can be.


SusieQTpies said...

I will ALWAYS love your attitude! Sending prayers your way.

Gina said...