Thanks to some of my wonderful friends I have been dubbed “Rev Reaper”. While this is not a title that I have been seeking, it is one that has put my last couple of months in perspective. Among the final hurdles toward ordination is serving in two distinct internships. The first one was done last year as I served as an intern/ staff member at Word of Life (my home church). The second one is being done at a local hospital. I am to serve a predetermined amount of hours serving as a chaplain intern in the chaplain services department.
While I am among the few non-catholics here it is a very interesting experience to say the least. For the first several weeks I shadowed staff members as they worked on a variety of spiritual and medical needs for patients. They are to do some medical documentation such as Do Not Resuscitate orders, Power of Attorneys, and such. Then I was to go on my own and make rounds on certain floors meeting patients and assessing their needs. A couple of weeks ago I wa to do a verbatium in which you critique a conversation with a patient. The staff members then look into the conversation and see where there are weaknesses and how one could do better. It was the staff’s assessment that I could do better in the area of grief and death. I know this goes back to some of my own issues from the past that I have looked at several times but have been unable to really come to grips with it. With that being said I was to be purposely put into circumstances in which I could deal with this issue.
In the following weeks I did encounter death in many different circumstances. After a particularly long day I was debriefing with several of my friends that had another that was in the hospital. I offered to go visit that friend but was told that I was the “Rev Reaper” and was the last person anyone wanted to see in any hospital. While it made light of the place that I am, I still ponder what needs to happen or is something going to click in which I suddenly can come to grips with issues of death. We shall see.