Learned Ignorance

As I understand more of what I’m studying, the more I feel the depths of which I have yet to learn.



I am so encouraged, beseeched, and exhorted by Tim Keller’s sermon from yesterday, March 24th, 2013.  He preached about the need to “encourage” each other in christian community.  Paraclao (I think) is too strong a word for encourage, and yet too gentle for another word which I can’t remember.  We are to model ourselves after Jesus who is the first paraclete and Holy Spirit who is the second paraclete.  Only as we are advocated by the Holy Spirit of what Jesus has done for us that we can advocate on behalf of others: to encourage, comfort, beseech, advocate.  After I heard this sermon, I was inspired to write texts to many of my friends that I interact with daily or weekly.  Sent text to my boyfriend, my community group co-leader/friend, and others who encourage me.  I am so thankful, so thankful to be in daily interaction with one or more of such paracletes in my life, paraclete embodied in flesh and blood.  You have to speak in love and truth.  You can’t be all accepting of everything someone does.  Nor can you be too quick to critique someone.  Ever so gently, and ever so patiently, and humbly we are to encourage (paraclao) each other.  Have you acted as an advocate for someone you love today?

death and life

What does it mean that we all will die at some point? I am a chaplain in training. Yesterday two of my patients died in ICU. And before that three patients died during the week. Patient that died in ICU, Edna (pseudonym) was a lovely person. So was her husband, Ed. I visited them twice before she got transferred to the ICU. She and Ed talked about Alaska as if it were the place to be! Imagine, Alaska, the state that elected Sarah Palin as governor! Mr and Mrs E encouraged me to apply for a job there. Oh they need people for everything! You need to be roughed though. Are you outdoorsy? Oh every guide we had carried a rifle. !!! it was on their trip to Alaska that Mrs E fell asleep on tours and Mr E knew something was wrong he said. It wasn’t like Edna to be sleeping on tours! Trip to Alaska had saved her life they said. Mrs E, how do you stay so positive? Oh, I give myself pep talks. You’ll have to teach me how you do that! Oh, I just talk to God. oh, that’s right up my ally! maybe next time we could pray together. …

but there was no next time. on my way up to the ICU to answer a page, I ran into Mr E. I was caught off guard. mr E answered the question I was thinking in my head. She’s not doing so well. she’s on life support. you want to meet my daughters? they are both here. sorry I was paged for another patient. I’ll drop by afterwards. my heart sank. on my way to ICU I was already sad, heart broken. when I dropped by mr E said to come back later. they are waiting for a priest. could I check on that? absolutely! I thought I’d get another chance to visit with the patient and family.

later in the afternoon, the room was closed. I could tell room was empty. still I had to find out. a clerk told me the patient expired. noooo. I thought I could come pray together with mr and mrs E. after I left the hospital, I felt like a lost spirit. I walked but I was looking past the objects. I wasn’t really seeing or thinking anything except when a cab angrily honked at me. I thought, sure, run me over, everyone dies. I Texted my boyfriend. I am walking aimlessly. his response was a question mark. guess my text needed clarification. I’m trying to walk off grief I said.

it felt weird to be alive encountering death so closely. I didn’t feel dead. I didn’t quite feel alive either. I had asked a colleague during the day, the staff in ICU, what are that made of? how do they do it?

similarly, what kind of people are chaplains exactly? how do chaplains do it? Are they pain and suffering junkies? no. pain sucks. suffering sucks. but we endure pain and suffering sometimes even choosing it as a profession because we care. it is a hard life. I’m not sure I can take it. all I can say is I sure am happy I got a chance to meet mr and mrs E. she was a lovely soul. so is Mr E.

how badly do i want it?

really badly! i saw a preview of a movie with russell crowe where in 24 hr period he has to fight for everything worth living for in his life. likewise, more than anything in the world, i want to get into a philosophy of religion phd program for next fall. when i say more than anything in the world, i mean just that. could i live with myself if i don’t get in anywhere? yes. would i be happy? no. i don’t think i ever felt as sure and focused about what to do with my life as much as i feel about pursuing philosophy of religion degree! my life doesn’t depend on it. my sanity does. i really hope and pray and will do my best to get into a program for next fall. that’s the plan anyhow.

when you least expect it

life is not fair by any means.  i don’t know how.  but i have been feeling pretty emotionally stable for about a week.  i started wondering, did the dark clouds above my head move on?  started wondering what i would do, what i could do if i continued to feel better.  but then today, just in the same way i started feeling good all of a sudden, i started feeling bad.  bad enough to want to eat lots of food to try to feel better.  and of course, eating sweet stuff does not make up for emotional deficit.  i know that.  but when nothing else seems to be working, i feel like i at least deserve to feel a little different, a little bit better, a little bit pampered by eating ice cream sundae, cinammon stix, chocolate, etc.

two of my medicine might contribute to weight gain.  two of my medicine might contribute to weight loss.  so all in all, it’s inactivity and eating for comfort that must be the reason for my recent weight gain.  i gained 10 pounds in the past couple months.  not so much and nothing to be alarmed about for most people.  but for my frame and my weight before gaining the 10 pounds, those 10 pounds, not good.  also when i start gaining weight, it’s really difficult to make the weight gain stop.  when i’m not gaining, i feel like i’m losing weight in someways.  right?  because i’m not gaining the weight i would be gaining which means somehow i am burning more calories than i did before or eating less.  think i cared less about my weight so long as i had clothes that fit me.  different story when you’re dating, right?  i mean, if you know that skinnier version of you is way cuter than what you look like now, and have been told by family members, friends, and boyfriend as well, how could you not feel not like you are not as attractive as you used to be?

anyway, i don’t know if it’s sunday blues like i felt bad on thursdays a few months ago.  last sunday i felt really crappy.  for the first time in months, i felt like not wanting to live.  and today, i’m not as far off the never never land, but i feel pretty crappy.  i have an exam that i have to pass in two days to get my graduate degree.  course work has been done for a year but i have to pass an exam to fulfill graduation requirements.  right now, i feel crappy enough that i really don’t care.  it’s just a degree, right?  have masters degrees already.  i mean, how many more alphabets do i need that follow my name?

feeling crappy is well, crappy.  ok i rarely resort to rated-R language.  but i feel shitty.  maybe i didn’t get enough sleep maybe i should have eaten dinner maybe i shouldn’t have had too much sugar.  anyway, for whatever reason, i feel like imploding.  which reminds me, i have other ways of washing away bad feelings!  hmmm  honestly forgot about other ways of coping!  ha!  ok gotta go.  absolut-ely gotta go!  🙂

it’s so uncool

it’s so uncool to cry in public places, especially a public place like starbucks where everyone is running from one place to another, sitting and chatting with friends or studying something because their entire life depends on that paper or exam or whatever.  i can’t help it though.  tears find their way out the corners of my eyes, rolling down my face.  how many days do i really have left to live?  no, i am not terminally ill, as in having cancer or HIV positive.  but i am deathly plagued by an illness, kind of like the illness where your white cells attack your own cells because they think their own cells are foreign antigens or something?  actually, it’s not exactly like that.  i know i am me.  i just don’t want to be.  i am not in favor of my physical well being if it is without psychological/mental/spiritual well being as well.

as i do sometimes when i’m not busy trying to end my life, i am sitting up in a coffee shop (instead of lying in my bed), and trying to read and write something that i find interesting and meaningful.  these are just one of the few moments, one of the few things, that i find worth while and would choose to do in my waking hours.  i don’t know what it is about working out, understanding, and creating complex ideas and theories that most people walking down the streets don’t think about for more than two seconds if they think about such things at all!

i find that i am blessed to be able to pick topics to read and write about that are of personal interest to me philosophically, theologically, or spiritually.  my current project is one in which i try to work out two different theories on value: one person argues that values are for the most part socially dependent and the other pereson argues that there are intrinsic values in things, like being human beings.  anyway i’ll see if/what/how i can contribute to the discussion. today so far is a great day!  with or without tears, even if i happen to be crying and feeling sad in a public place surrounded by christmas decorations, happy music and chatters of excitement, today is a day i am glad to have lived and looking forward to living.