Today I “graduated” from my first unit of CPE. CPE, or Clinical Pastoral Education, is a program in which persons are educated in pastoral care, usually at a hospital or medical setting, and joined by a group of peers and a supervisor to process their feelings and what motivates them when they do ministry.
Now there are those that elect to do a unit of CPE, and there are those (ahem, me) who are required as part of their degree to do a unit. While in seminary, I have watched many of my peers go through CPE, and seen mostly the same reaction – I learned a lot, but boy it was tough.
I went through CPE having just found out I was not able to do my degree in the normal process due to some grade issues caused by taking classes when I had Arthur. I was also dealing with postpartum depression for a time. To say it was tough would be an understatement.
I learned so much about myself, about others, and about God. I was surprised to find how at home I feel as a pastor at the time of death, and gained a real sense of what it is I’m doing at seminary.
One more chapter on the path to a Master’s of Divinity has been knocked out, and soon I will be back in class. When people ask how CPE was, I’ll try not to sound like a broken record, when I report that it was tough, but I learned a lot.