A re-post in honor of those starting CPE

At the end of 2007 I basically gutted this blog. I promised that at some point I’d start putting things back up, while being more careful about the content.

This post originally appeared on August 29, 2007. I am putting it back up in honor of everyone, whether known to me or not, who will be spending the summer in CPE.


Looking back over 11 transforming weeks

CPE was…

Hard. The hardest thing I’ve done. Ever. Like a treadmill I always felt in danger of falling off. The pace was crazy. The days were long. The homework was unending. The nights (and sleep) were too short.

Amazing. Life affirming. Confidence building. In the category of “If I can do this, I can do anything!” I met extraordinary people whose stories I will always remember. I stood in the presence of both life and death. I saw faith and heard prayers (and said prayers!) at times and in places where I would have previously thought only darkness existed.

Deeply spiritual. God was there, in those rooms, in those hallways. The Spirit was often in my words, in my actions. I stepped out of myself, I reached beyond who I am.

Painful. I was reminded of so many hurts. I processed old grief in new ways. I faced my fears. Some I was able to overcome. Others haunt me more now than before. I was left exposed, vulnerable, broken open, questioning, wondering.

Unifying for a group of 6 strangers. It’s amazing what you share in CPE. I am deeply, deeply grateful to the five people who shared the summer, and their stories of their lives and their brokenness with me. I felt like I belonged. I felt accepted. I felt trusted.

Prophetic. We were each able to see gifts in each other that were previously unrecognized. We told each other hard truths. We thought about the future. We wondered about ministry. We shared our dreams and fears.

Disturbing. The pain, the despair, the suffering. I don’t know how to put it into words, or explain how it feels to witness it, to share in it in some small way, or to say what it’s like to try to help people make some meaning from it. Why why why why why? I just don’t know. Sometimes I’m much more afraid than I was before. Sometimes I’m much angrier at God than before. All those people, all that suffering, all those shattered lives and broken hearts.. why why why why why?

Costly. It cost me a summer of my life. It cost time I could have spent on my marriage, on friendships, on rest. It cost me the very last remaining scraps of my easy answers and quick fixes. It cost me my ability to make small talk. It cost me my ability to pretend I’m strong and unaffected. It cost me any illusions I had about how much ministry will ask of me.

Worth it. Really and truly worth it. Completely and totally worth every agonizing second. I will be a better priest because of it. I may have even helped a few people in the process. God knows more than a few people helped me.


~ by Sophia on May 12, 2008.

3 Responses to “A re-post in honor of those starting CPE”

  1. WOW! I remember all that from my extended unit. This is a fitting tribute to those who prepare to minister “in the here and now”. Thank you for sharing. Peace.

  2. This is a great service to anyone starting CPE! JudyP.S. I will be thinking of you this weekend.

  3. Thanks for posting that again. I found your blog looking up CPE, and now I have just finished day 2 of my own. Much appreciated.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: