Saturday, May 21, 2011
The End of the World -- Again
So yeah, no Rapture. Not, mind you, that I expected it, but I feel sorry for all the folks who gave away their life savings or whatever, and now have to figure out a Plan B. A friend of mine commented the other day, "Oh, I'd be one of the people left down here, but that's okay, because I really wouldn't want to spend eternity with the others." I agree with him whole-heartedly. This is another way of saying, I guess, that we all get the heaven we deserve.
In any case, I spent all morning at church, but not planning for Judgment Day. It was a "getting to know you" session for those of us from my old church to meet some of the people from my new church. We shared bits of our history -- most of these intensely moving -- and wrote a group prayer at the end. (This was a quintessentially Episcopal document which, in the thanksgiving section, included the phrase "Thanks for postponing the Rapture.")
Because the session had been advertised as four hours long (and indeed ran that long), I brought knitting, a pretty new scarf I'm working on. Knitting's the only way I can survive marathon meetings, even when they're fascinating. At the end we were chatting about the Ministry Fair tomorrow, and I said, "So is there a knitting group here?"
The rector, sitting next to me, turned to look at the scarf and said, "There is now." So I'll attempt to drag myself out of bed early enough tomorrow to go to the Ministry Fair with a sign-up sheet and clipboard to see if anybody else wants to get together to knit.
In other news, I'm about fifty pages into this phase of the revision. If I can keep going at this rate, I should indeed have the book done before Mythcon, although I wouldn't be surprised if a snag somewhere slows me down.
My first short shift at the hospital went fine. My tally at the end of the two hours was a whopping 59 -- which is about average for a four-hour shift -- so my hunch that two two-hour shifts will let me visit more people may indeed be true. I don't think the numbers will always be that high, though. The ER was extremely busy, and lots of people asked for prayer, but there was no one with whom I had to spend a lot of time, which translated into lots of visits, because I was able to keep moving. If there were fewer people in the department, or if more of them had deeper needs calling for longer visits, the numbers would be lower (not that my supervisors really care: it's not like we have a quota or anything, but they do want us to do basic bean counting).
It was strange being there during the week, when the hospital's so much more populated! Signing in, I said hello to no fewer than three staff chaplains. I asked if I should still respond to non-ER codes, and was told, "No, we'll do it." In a way that's a relief, and in a way it feels like a bit of a demotion. Since the professional chaplains respond to all codes, I'll probably be playing a much smaller role even during ER codes: get there first, provide whatever comfort I can, and stand aside when the professionals show up. When my sabbatical ends I'll have to go back to working Saturdays, though, which means they'll probably want me on codes again (if only because an on-call staff chaplain can take longer to arrive than someone already in the building).
As the most recent shift showed, however, there will still be enough to keep me plenty busy. And a lot of patients love being visited by volunteers; they're moved and fascinated that people just like them do this, and ask lots of questions about whether they might be able to do it, too. We're an important part of the hospital ecosystem.