Here's a Jeopardy question for you, the $1000 question in the topic "Overwhelming Encounters."
Q: What is...the event which combines the characteristics of a Spanish Inquisition, a therapy group, a job interview, an ordination committee, a spiritual direction session, and the most intense CPE supervisory session?
A: INTERVIEWS TO QUALIFY FOR BOARD CERTIFICATION AND AFFILIATION WITH THE ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL CHAPLAINS.
That's right, friends. I spent my morning in a chaplaincy conference room in Indianapolis being interviewed, grilled, understood, challenged, weakened, strengthened, stretched. I was prepared for a grueling experience, but I'm not sure I was aware of how exhausting it could be while six weeks pregnant. I walked into the meeting repeating, "They won't make me cry. I will not cry." And, lo and behold, when challenged on whether or not I "hid behind my words" in my spiritual autobiography, I found myself choking up a bit as I spoke of my reluctance at times to feel secure offering spiritual support to my patients when so often I feel untethered myself. Sometimes, or often, I don't touch that sadness or doubt within. And, well, that's when I had to swallow some tears.
I am not good at allowing myself to be nurtured. This amazing group of chaplains saw through my bullshit, and claimed me as one of their own. They heard my doubts and fears, and named me as worthy. It made me ache, but it challenged me to grow.
Oh, and I now get to add those three magic letters B.C.C. after my name, because the certification committee "passed" me. But moreover, they made me feel not so alone. And that made all the difference.
So am I now the Certified Contemplative Chaplain? Nah...too wordy.