Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Try Tri Again

So that's me in the middle coming out of Lake Washington two weeks ago at the Danskin Triathlon.

I did the Danskin in 2004 and was training for 2005 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Okay, so there was a teeny tiny part of me that thought, "Now I can stop all this insane training!" Ha.

It's taken me five years to get in shape again and even though I'm five years older and ten pounds heavier, I finished thirteen minutes faster than 2004. While I was doing the run (which is the worst part because your legs are so dead) I kept thinking, "Well, this is way better than getting chemotherapy!

I was faster because I learned to swim freestyle the whole way and most important, to not dally in my transitions. This got me to thinking about my transition from a staff chaplain at the SCCA to a sort of freelance chaplain/writer/public speaker.

I've grieved over leaving my community there: my colleagues and the patients. This was especially hard when I learned that one of the nurses got married and not only was I not invited to the wedding, but another chaplain did the ceremony.

But then I also realize that I have not gone out of my way to keep connected to people there. And in fact, sometimes avoided going up to my old unit. The reason: I wanted to give the new chaplains a chance to get settled in and let the staff bond to them.

Also: one time I was talking with a patient about being in a film I'm making about palliative care. The new chaplain got all squirrelly about it. Like, what was I doing there? And did our boss know about it? And did I chart it? And I kept reassuring him, "I wasn't seeing him as a chaplain. There was no need for me to chart."

So for the past year I've been so sad about this and kept telling myself, "Well, you're in a transition from this job you so loved. These things take time." The triathlon showed me that there is no need to dally in a transition: put on your shoes and helmet and get on the bike! Take off your helmet and start the run!

Quit mourning your old job and embrace your new life! Sure these things take time, but I don't have to draw it out! Plus: I can't even stay connected with some of my closest friends so how can I possibly stay connected to people I saw only at work? Get over it!

The staff at the SCCA are some of the finest people with whom I've ever worked. If I want to stay connected to them, it's up to me--now that I'm out of my transition.