Sarah Green, a summer intern with Supervisory Candidate Jeanine Dorfman at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis (Allina CPE Center) wrote the following about her experience. Sarah is pursuing a call to professional chaplaincy and ordination with the United Methodist church.
The excavation of the self continues;
Sometimes slowly, painstakingly.
Sometimes with eager excitement of discovery!
But always progressing – if you’re willing to work.
Companions who accompany us for the dig
Carry shovels, ready for labor;
Unafraid of grimy hands and dirty fingernails,
Lightly encouraging us to remove our gloves.
They stand beside us as we raise each artifact,
Some of which existed deep under the soil –
Covered in layers of mud and clay,
Outside of our awareness.
They gently help us examine the pieces
As we clean off the dirt and grime…
And sigh patiently as we cover some of them back up
Because we aren’t ready to look…yet.
They mark the spot of re-burial
To help us find it again when we are ready;
Carefully leading us back to the mark,
Because what is hidden underground has no use…
Unless it is a seed, which is watered and whose surrounding soil is cultivated.
Unless it is a pipe which is built by disturbing the ground
But which brings refreshing waters as a result.
Unless it is time capsule that will be opened when the time is right.
And once we are finally ready,
We dare to dig again. And wash it all off;
Making shiny and new what once was corroded.
Watching life breathe from what was inanimate.
And because we have accomplished this,
We can grab an extra shovel and travel to a neighboring site
To lovingly stand with someone else and encourage them
As they learn how to dig.
And we sit with them in the mud
When their muscles fatigue or their back aches
And show them new ways to dig
And pray for healing. For them. For us.
And we find others who have dug farther down,
Deeper than we ever have ourselves, or in different directions,
And we take with us their tools (they multiply);
And we carry them back home with us.
So we teach. We dig. We uncover.
And we learn. We grow. We discover.
And sometimes we are a blessing.
And sometimes we are blessed.
And sometimes…it’s both.