In my application for my first unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) I wrote “I am interested in CPE because I, too, want to explore the depths of despair and the heights of love.”
Here are my reflections (in poetry form) as I write from the airport on my way home:
Love is patient, love is kind,
Love understands that people need time.
Love is holding the hand of a person in palliative care,
Love is present when no one else is there.
Love is kind, but it still challenges,
Calls out life-limiting theology and indifference while acknowledging the way it damages,
Love is patient, it does not judge,
It understands that people need unconditional acceptance.
It does not have an agenda to convert,
It’s sole objective is to be near a soul in hurt.
Love doesn’t envy, it doesn’t boast,
Love believes the best not the worst.
It doesn’t brag out of pride,
Rather it is humble, teachable, real and alive.
True love is vulnerable, soul searching and transformative,
It takes a withered soul and provides vibrancy and insight.
Love isn’t self-seeking, but it is self-caring.
Love understands that the wounded healer first needs healing.
Love recognizes its limits and shortcomings,
It gracefully requests and accepts help as needed.
Love has mentors and friends on its journey,
Love recognizes the places its own soul is weary.
Love is not easily angered, keeps no records of wrongs,
Yet love forgives and also calls for accountability,
Love jumps the hurdle of trauma,
While also calling for justice and action.
Love doesn’t deny what’s right in the name of peacekeeping,
Rather love works towards peace by restoration.
Love doesn’t rejoice in evil, but in the truth.
Love looks for the good in humanity and creation.
Love understands that wounds bleed.
Love knows when to do First Aid and when to walk away.
Love is always available for a second chance.
But love also has boundaries and knows how to protect its own heart.
Love always protects,
It seeks to empower the weakest.
It seeks to strengthen the timid.
It walks between when there is danger.
It will give its own life for another.
Love always trusts,
It believes in hope,
Even when days are gloomy, it speaks comfort.
It delights in simple things,
It is grateful.
It perseveres even when life is challenging.
Love perseveres because it sees the bigger picture and it values the part it plays.
Love never fails, it is dependable, reliable, and committed.
Love is always present and around us.
Love stands the test of time.