Sunday, July 30, 2017

Smaller and Smaller

So I did share my feelings with Anita about what she wrote in my evaluation at the end of the third unit (of four) of the clinical pastoral education program I will be graduating from a week from Thursday. I told her it’s hard for me to have feelings with others observing, and I asked for her help. (I also told her that Delia and my at-work therapist had said the exact same thing she did.) She was warm and understanding. I think she was also chagrined that I had felt so upset. She said she never intends for anyone to feel that she is using their words against them—she wants to give direct, specific feedback, but tries to make it so there aren’t any surprises. She also said she thinks I’m a “phenomenal” chaplain.

Toward the end of June, Howie led a half-day of meditation at the Mindfulness Care Center, which was lovely. I also had lunch with someone who was pretty much my best friend back in the mid-1980s. Our three part-time CPE students had their graduation ceremony.

I had my first chaplain job interview, at a hospice that is just getting started. The interview went very well, but I felt rather lukewarm about the job, which sounds like it will be an hour here and an hour there initially. Afterward, I decided to go to the downtown Container Store, and as I walked there, I found myself thinking about F. a lot, wishing I would see him. Several blocks from his apartment, it occurred to me that if he were returning to his home on a northbound Mission St. bus, he would probably get off at the stop at 7th and Mission. I turned my head to look at that bus stop, and there he was, across the street, walking in the direction of his place.

I scurried ahead to the corner and crossed the street so that I was waiting for him when he arrived at Market St. We had a brief exchange, at the end of which he said, “I should go.” I said, “OK,” and he walked off. For half a block, we walked in the same direction, on opposite sides of Market St., and then he turned north, and I stopped and watched him until I couldn’t see him anymore. I think it was good that we met, because I got to see with my own eyes that he has psychologically gone away from me. The time I saw him before that, before we broke up, everything was just as it had always been, and so it was hard to wrap my mind around the fact that we were no more. It was really helpful to get to act out physically what had happened emotionally: we were together, then going the same way but no longer together, and then he got smaller and smaller and smaller, and then he disappeared.

The last day of June, I stayed at the other campus all day, where I had been on call the night before, because they were short-staffed. In the evening, I treated Sam to dinner at Chez Maman West, near Hayes Valley, and then we saw Hamilton at the Orpheum. Sam knows pretty much everyone in the entire hospital, and of course was present when a nurse happened to manage to buy a number of tickets for $100 apiece, of which she sold him two. That was months ago, followed by my low-key but persistent campaign to be his date for the show. At some point, he asked me to make a particularly unfavorable on-call trade with him. I decided to do it, since he has done me favors during this year. I was not thinking about Hamilton one way or the other, but right after I said I would make the trade with him, he invited me to join him. I had read the book it was based on, Ron Chernow’s splendid biography, and I was dying to see the show, and I did see the show! It was all I had hoped for—really wonderful.

A few days later, Ann and Tom and I had lunch at Au Coquelet and went to Berkeley Rep to see An Octoroon.
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