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The Waterbed Fiasco

In my ever growing brilliance, I decided to do the following during my last week before Kenya: wrap up my 12 weeks of hospital chaplaincy (CPE), exactly one week after CPE is finished, take Presbyterian Ordination exams (ords are the bar exam for Presbyterian ministers) 3 Friday and Saturday; plus 1 more which I receive the paper topic at noon Saturday and have until Thursday to complete, but I am leaving Tuesday morning at 6 AM for orientation for my Kenya trip. After I told my mom this grand scheme, she said “that’s not the brightest idea.” I hadn’t really thought of it that way until she put it so kindly, moms… Any who, while doing all of this I also had to officially move out of my apartment which brings me to my entertaining story of the day.

I have been working on my time management skills since college because they were “lacking” then, but I have gotten much better in seminary. Therefore, I had been moving out of my apartment in increments. Each day I would move some bo-jazz and then on Thursday I would check out of my apartment right before ords. Seemed simple enough. So, I saved moving my waterbed for the last day, Thursday (yesterday) because I like to sleep. Yes, my immediately family all have waterbeds, representing. I called around Austin Wednesday and found a Home Depot that had a waterbed pump. Everything was in place which is a sign disaster would ensue.

I awoke at the wee hour of 9 AM and ran over to the Home Depot to rent the waterbed pump. I returned home and headed downstairs to find a water hose, it was muddy. I ran back up to the third floor and plugged everything in and turned on the pump and nothing happened. The pump was making the “pump noises,” but would NOT take the form of a verb and pump. I noticed the hose had a hole in it so I decided to go back down and find another muddy hose. Rinse, lather, repeat. Same problem. I ran downstairs and found the bestest hose in all the land, muddy of course and returned once again to no avail. At this point, I determined that even though the pump is making noise, it is not pumping. It took me 3 hoses… So I ran back to Home Depot and told them their pump’s broken. They told me it was not. I asked them to test it and they then returned to tell me it’s broken, to which I replied “I know.” They called the “north” home depot and asked if they had a pump, they said they did so I was off on another quest at now 12:30 PM. I arrived at Home Depot #2 and asked for the waterbed pump. They told me that they didn’t have a waterbed pump. I told them, well they called here about 20 minutes ago and you said you had one then. A younger gentleman walked out of the back office scratching his head and looked at me and said, “yeah that was me. Sorry I misunderstood them. We don’t have a waterbed pump.” This was when I had to count to 3. Then an older employee who had been listening to the conversation came over and asked, “how high is your waterbed?” I held my hand 3 ft off the ground. He said “no, what floor are you on?” I’m on the third. The old man said, “Well, all you have to do then is put one end of the hose in your bed and the other out the window and then go downstairs and suck on the hose.” I replied with a half-hearted, “alright.” I returned home slightly frustrated and fatigued by trying to figure out my current quandary in life. After entertaining some brilliant ideas of changing the time-space continuum, I succumbed to sticking one end of the hose in the bed and the other out the window, I ran downstairs, lied on the ground and starting sucking and 20 seconds later I was choking on glorious water. It was the happiest I have ever been while choking! The waterbed was completely drained in 20 minutes, thank you old man.

Back to studying for ords.
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OklaHOMEa

I was blessed this past week by the timing of my required psychological evaluation for ordination because it took me home for my brother’s 20th birthday and for one last hoo-raw in OklaHOMEa before I leave for Kenya. It was also frustrating because it was a quick trip so I didn’t get to say goodbye to everyone I wanted, but I got to spend time with my family and a few Broken Arrow friends.

Throughout college and in seminary, I have come to realization that I am an oddity (and not in the way you’re thinking) because my family has lived in the same house for 25 years. Since I am 24, that house is the only home I’ve ever known as…home. Therefore, when I say I’m going home it has a different meaning for me than most people. I am going to the house where I can explain every patched hole in the wall with a rousing story, locate every light switch blindfolded, and yell a family members name and get a response. Not to mention, the parentals pay for everything! Therefore, I love home!

Any who, I got to surprise my little brother for his birthday and go out with the family to Olive Garder, (or as Patrick calls it “the OG”) his favorite restaurant. The next day my two best friends from Broken Arrow came over, Brad and Josh (and Josh’s wife, Laura), and we took over the world by means of a 1999 computer game. Then Gina, Brad’s wife, joined us and we all went out to dinner. It is amazing that at 24 the three of us are still able to get together every now and again. I don’t think we realize how amazingly blessed we are by each other.
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Sunday, I was liturgist and was asked to tell the congregation what I was doing/attempting to do currently…it took a while…and reminded me that I have a lot to do. Then that night my family was invited over to the Carter’s house for a very relaxing, delicious dinner of catching up and conversation with Richard, Mary, Brian, Cynthia, Austen, Taylor, Mike, Alice, and my family. I was reminded of how I love my home church and home people.

Monday, Brad and I beat Super Mario Brothers 3 in an hour and a half. It used to take us four days to do that when we were in the third grade. Therefore, we felt amazing. It was also Brad and Gina’s 2-year anniversary so I assisted in distracting Brad from preparing the dinner he was making for her.

Tuesday, I was evaluated psychologically for 5 hours.

Then I went over to Josh’s new house and later his parents took us out to the best BBQ in Broken Arrow, Wild Bills. Amazing people and BBQ, my favorite combo plate. Then I went over to visit Crystal, another best friend from high school, who I hadn’t seen or talked to in a long time. It was great to catch up with her and see her new house. Apparently, we’re getting old…and houses.

Each night my family would get into our new spa for 20 minutes and talk. Quite ingenious, one cannot take electronics like TVs/PCs into water…yet. Therefore, we had to sit down as a family and talk. Excuse #37 to buy a spa. The next morning my family drove me to the airport at 6 AM and my trip home was over. Time is getting quicker…it must be working out.

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Fantastic Weekend!

I had a fantastic weekend! Those are always nice. It began with the Chi Tau Chi retreat which is the Christian Fraternity I was in during college. It was fantastic to see old friends and begin new relationships as well. We played basketball, rock band, guitar, and just spent time hanging out together. At college-ish functions like this I always miss college and am reminded of why I am glad I am not in college anymore simultaneously; needless to say, a weird feeling.

Saturday, I drove up to Dallas for a college friend’s wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony and I really enjoyed the entire night. I was especially caught by a line during the vows because of my current hospital chaplaincy job, “in sickness and in health.” This line has a whole new meaning to me after this summer and seeing all of the people in the hospital with their spouse right there beside them or in the not so happy cases their spouse is no where to be seen. Either way, when I heard these words being said all of my patients flashed before my eyes and there was water on my face for some peculiar reason. I am finding going to wedding after wedding to be rewarding in the fact that I focus on a different part of the vows each time and will hopefully fully understand the magnitude of what I am saying one day when I get married. It reminds me of how youth directors will make their youth write out the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed in modern English so that they have a better understanding of what they are saying each week. That is what attending more wedding ceremonies than I can count has have taught me.

The reception was very nice as well. The bride, Carrie, was very busy (expected), but she took the time to tell me 3 times, “I am so happy you are here.” I didn’t expect to get to speak with her at all, but she took the time to come up to me 3 times and tell me that. I like her a lot. If she ever starts a fan club, I call President.
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I then went to stay the night with a family I lived with for a summer in college while I was working as a youth director in their church. It started out poorly because I had to wake them up at midnight because the e-mail I sent them about me coming didn’t go through. Any who, the next morning we went to church and it was a very nice service. I always love going to new and different Presbyterian churches, but haven’t had the opportunity the past 2 years because I have been at work every Sunday morning. I am happy that the Giffords have found a good new church home. It was great to see them again and be reminded of all of their personality traits. It is funny how you forget the subtleties of people and then when you are around them again they come flooding back and you remember how much you have missed them and I guess in the not so fortunate cases why you haven’t missed them too much. Any who, it was a lovely visit.

On the way home I stopped and had an early dinner with two of my best friends from college, Rachel and Sam, and Sam’s fiancée Katie. It was really nice to be back together with the college group again and reminisce of our 4 years together. I wish we could do that weekly.

This weekend was an awesome pick me up and energizer. The Giffords and Rachel have been overly generous to me recently (as they always are) and it has just been such an inspiring gesture to know how much people care about me and will always be there for me. It makes it much easier to go back to the hospital on Monday and attempt to be as gracious as I can to each patient I see. Word. Well, that’s more than enough for now. Good day!

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Tired, But Ready To Go…

It’s Thursday night and I have 3 weeks and a day left of my summer internship in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) (hospital chaplaincy).  It’s amazing to think of where I started out at the beginning of the summer compared to now.  Arrive at a brand new hospital and your supervisor tells you that you have 32 rooms to cover and let’s you at it.  My comfort level, pastoral presence, and understanding of how to interact with a patient have all changed and grown extremely since that first week.  However, I am draining more quickly each week.  For the first few weeks, I wouldn’t get tired until Friday afternoon.  Then it was Friday.  Now it is Thursday at some point.  I don’t know what causes it, but I assume that the euphoric feeling and surprise of chaplaincy are wearing off and it is becoming more of a regular job.  I am not saying that I don’t feel called to go to the hospital everyday because I do, but my energy level isn’t lasting as long.  I think that I am still working on how to pace myself in a hospital chaplaincy setting.  I don’t think that I will find a good balance during my internship this summer, but that is something I would develop if I was doing this full time.  My feeling at first and still is that I should see as many patients as possible in a day, but then I am not able to see as many by the end of the week.  It reminds me of how the same thing would happen at Dwight during the summer time.  By the end of the summer everybody was wiped out and tired for the last week or two because they had given everything they had at the beginning of the summer.  We had to learn how to pace ourselves.

So now that I am back to the pacing myself drawing board, I need energy…  Sleep might help that category.  I am excited about going to the hospital tomorrow because we’re playing Space Invaders.  Word.

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State Your Purpose, Blog/ger!

My name is Robert and through this blog I am excited to share with you my life and experiences as I move to Kenya for 12 months to serve as a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) with the Presbyterian Church(USA).

I have just finished my second of three years at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (APTS) in Austin, TX. So you may wonder why/how I am able to leave the country for a year with a year of seminary left. Well, I am taking a Leave of Absence from seminary for my YAV year and will return, complete my last year, and graduate in May of 2010. The main reason why I have chosen to take a year off from seminary and do this now rather than after I graduate is that I will have my final year of seminary to reflect theologically and spiritually on my experience in Kenya rather than attempting to deal with that at my first ordained position. I also believe that my experience in Kenya will help me mature and grow in my faith, rounding out my seminary education. So, there’s that.

I have decided in order to get the ball rolling I will start blogging some this summer. Furthermore, this will allow actual content to exist as I attempt to tell people about it. I contend, it is difficult to tell people to go and check out a blog when it is just a blank page.

So, I hope you will join me in my journey by keeping up with me here and commenting when you feel so moved. Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions. Thanks.

Sincerely,

Robert

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