New Roots

After our cold days, I loved the warmer afternoon I spent outside with kiddos itching to play on our local trails where they talk better than in stuffy office.


I started the day at 530, though, rising early to get to the hospital for my second chaplaincy assignment. I had to give an early lecture on Mormons, and answer questions about how that impacts care (stop sending up trays with ice tea as the only drink choice!). I focused on simple things, like our Articles of Faith, the Living Christ, and the Family Proclamationh. I provided copies of those three things to everyone, and they asked really good questions!

They also asked a lot of questions about my cochlear implants, which reminded me I was back in the hospital environment.

They did great to finish on time, so I made it back to work on time and saw all my peeps as scheduled. It was a log day, but worked out just fine.

Except for Five, who came home sick. He feels fine, but had a fever, so the school made him come home and won’t let him go back to school tomorrow. He was so sad! I couldn’t miss patients, so Nathan had to leave the school where he was teaching orchestra to go pick Five up and take him home to bed. Poor guy!

In the meantime, having fresh energy from the early morning and hospital work gave me new life in my regular job, so I had a really good day and fun time of it. I was worried when our hours were cut back that I wouldn’t get to do enough or like it or know how to adjust, but this has fit perfectly and fits me perfectly.

For so long, I had these random pieces of my life – the counseling, the theological studies, the extra ministry pieces in different settings – and this chaplaincy thing really is integrating it all together into something that feels very me.

As the heaviness of it falls on me, so does the testimony that it is good and right and exactly what I need.

It is service, but with training, so I get the refinement I crave and the accountability to improve upon myself, and in a setting where there are needs and I have something to give.

The group work of the chaplain cohort is very reflective and intense internally, and I think it is time for me to do some serious work about the deaths of my parents.

Nathan and I know that since we were called to this, we will be qualified for it – both of us – even though right now it feels impossible. We also know it is preparatory, though we don’t know for what exactly. We also know it will be hard as we adjust and transition and endure, but we are super excited to experience the growth and healing and progress that will come.

It will be a challenge practically, as I will be working overnight shifts (there is a room for me to sleep in when I am not being paged) and weekends, with every sixth Sunday as the chaplain in Tulsa – including giving the chapel sermon and doing the service! So funny to year them call me “pastor” and “minister”. The weekends I am not on call or shift or doing Chapel, I will be at the other hospital as the psych person for the ER.

It feels like a lot, but the scheduling works out perfectly, though we may not take more foster kids as the three on their way out head home.

There will be a two or three week period in April where my chaplaincy assignment shifts to a different hospital before being finished at this one, and so those two weeks will be hard.

It will be a wild ride, for sure, like any of our adventures.

But I would rather work hard and play hard than sit around with cancer and pneumonia.

I am breathing better and have not had as many fevers, but my lungs are still cloudy so I haven’t kicked the pneumonia yet. It is making me crazy, but my lungs have always been easily irritated because of the heart stuff. It’s a mess how they are all so sensitive to each other. I am trying to heal up, and wouldn’t work so hard if my job didn’t entail sitting in a chair all day!

The doctor called today with my lab work from this week, and my cancer marker levels are holding but not improving. It is so frustrating, though the fatigue is the worst – to always be swimming upstream just to do the simplest things. Maybe it’s true, when we really get down to it, that I don’t sit still because I am afraid I would die. But I feel so much better than I did before, that it sets me free and makes me want to live in every way I can.

Walking two miles in the woods today was glorious, and the best thing for me.

It was healing.

Like that chaplaincy group that felt so much like some serious group therapy.

It was good for me, all of it this day, and I am excited to see what shifts and changes, because I know I am going to be transformed. The old has been violently yanked out of me, weeding my soul, and there has been two years of planting after thirty-five years of soil prep, and something – now, finally – is about to grow.

Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.
~ Rumi

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About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


New Roots — 1 Comment

  1. This is not related specifically to this post, but just wanted to share a post I read today. The last paragraph made me think of you and your situation. You inspire me! I enjoyed being connected on facebook, too, but somehow we aren’t anymore. That’s okay. I still have your blog, which motivates and inspires me when I’m facing some of life’s more difficult challenges. Thank you for sharing your journey with us!!

    Here’s the link to the article called “Getting to Know God.”