It's a Long Story . . . Part Four
The school kindly provided for me a number of sessions with an outsourcing professional. A kind, bright and optimistic woman, she helped me revamp my resume, look at the kinds of things I was good at, and how to best sell myself to prospective employers. (Her being a quilter enhanced her likability.) She looked at finding a new job as just a piece of making the adjustment to what had happened. She said to me, "Oh, six months or a year from now, you'll say 'Losing my job at the school was one of the best things that ever happened to me.'" As much as I liked and respected her, my response was, "Baloney."
I jumped at the first job that was offered to me, partly because I was afraid there wouldn't be a second possibility and partly because staying at the school through the end of the academic year had become untenable. We'd met with a financial planner and four mornings a week running the office of a very small church seemed like it would work for us. And so I left the prestigious Quaker school and went to work in the office of a church that just happened to house a little school for about a dozen and a half autistic children. My mornings have been filled with phone calls from parishioners alternating with very young boys in near-adult bodies coming in to use the copier, visits from salesmen alternating with the shrieks of anger coming from a pupil who can't communicate her feelings any other way, preparing the bulletins for Sunday alternating with the near constant running of the vacuum cleaner as the students practice occupational therapy; not to mention falling in love with one young girl.
Having my afternoons and all day Friday free was new and fun, but after the newness wore off, it occurred to me that I might volunteer again in the pastoral care department at the hospital. Sister Angela was long gone, but I met up with a very pleasant staff chaplain who was eager to add me to his roster. When we met, he looked at my resume and spoke about another opportunity. I decided to pursue it.
Last week, a lady from the HR department of the hospital phoned to offer me a paid position as "hospital chaplain, casual." After some training, I would be part of the team of relief chaplains, working a few shifts per month as the sole chaplain in the 600+ bed hospital. I would be carrying the trauma beeper, responding to all Codes, performing baptisms for babies not expected to survive, picking up referrals for in-depth pastoral care visits, checking the family waiting rooms, and all kinds of other things. The work would be mostly on weekends and holidays, and it was unclear how frequent the shifts would be or how long they would last. There were unanswered questions, but was I interested? and could I begin sometime in December?
I didn't hesitate for a minute. I'd been getting ready for about twenty-five years.
Then, after I'd chased the tears out of my eyes, I wrote to the outsourcing lady to tell her that yes, of course, she was right.