This has been a big year for me. I usually don't sit down to look back intentionally on the past year around New Years Eve, but I felt like I should this time around.
Three quarters of this year was spent in Clinical Pastoral Education, pulling periodic 80-hour weeks working at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital. I feel like CPE was a threshold for me. I can measure my preparedness for ministry before and after the experience and see a huge difference. I have a lot more confidence, and have had the chance to have a lot of things brought to my attention (over and over again until I got the message) that I continue to work on. I am more aware of myself and of others, and I have sharpened my skills in a lot of difficult situations. I have also made friends of colleagues and I hope to maintain those relationships for the rest of our lives.
During the course of CPE I started back on an antidepressant, first Prozac and then Celexa, which is what I'm on now. My experience of Prozac was amazingly bad. It was like a daily jittery train-wreck with me in the middle of it saying everything that came to mind like an idiot hyped on meth. I provided a lot of entertainment for my peers, lemme say, as well as some uncomfortably truthful moments. But CPE is all about uncomfortably truthful moments.
This year I also completed work on Parsec which began during the summer of 2007 after meeting a publisher at Origins who asked me for a concept document for an RPG. I have no idea of how much work I've put into the game between then and now - suffice to say that I'm pretty sure that when I'm paid, it'll be pennies per hour if I were to sum everything up. I'm really proud of completing the book. Looking at it now, I can also see a lot of areas where I need to improve, but I have to start somewhere.
After CPE came a difficult time with me unemployed and then underemployed and finally overemployed. For about a month I logged a total of six jobs and basically didn't sleep enough the entire time. For the record, I was a sales associate with Cutco, a barista at Starbucks, an employee at Panera, writing for Jolly Roger Games, writing for Examiner.com and working at the local game store as well.
I do not want to do that again. I think that was one of those times when you learn about a limit in life. I hit my limit, hard, and am still recovering physically from it. (I'm down to four jobs now. Ha!)
On the church front, in January I started circulating my PIF and learned that the world did not take any note of me whatsoever. After years of work, it was a very anticlimactic time for me. Over the summer I had a number of interviews with a church that ended up choosing not to extend an offer. In retrospect it was the right result, but at the time it was pretty depressing, losing what felt like the only real chance at a call I'd had in seven months.
And then, as it tends to happen, a couple of weeks ago I was offered a call at a church in OH and accepted. Everything happened far faster than I'd ever have expected. The COM even essentially fast tracked me and will be enthusiastically endorsing me to the whole Presbytery when I am examined. I came back from this whirlwind having to figure out how to move with three weeks' notice, and I'm in the thick of that right now. I cannot say how thankful I feel right now. I am also the kind of person who doesn't get hit by things until they are upon me. When I start, I will definitely freak out. My head will explode as it were. For now I'm excited but clear-headed about things, planning the details of a cross-continental move.
Looking to the coming year, I want three main things for myself, not counting the things that depend on other people. I want to be a good pastor. I want to write. I want to spend time with my loved ones.
That's about it. Simple enough? We'll see.