I see you, I hear you, I know: Scoliosis is difficult

The past 5 months have been a bit of a blur. I’ve been finding out what it means to push past exhaustion – physically and mentally. I’ve been chasing my new calling and it’s been a mid-race push.

Nearly 12 years ago, I was called by God to put my efforts wholeheartedly into the act of (literally) embracing Scoliosis patients with comfort. It has not been an easy calling, but one I am blessed to do. And I believe we do it well and will continue to do so.

Three years ago, God gave me an additional calling – God called me into pursuing ordination in Word and Sacrament ministry in the ELCA Lutheran Church. More accurately, I began a process for a call that has been there for nearly 30 years. However, the pieces came together to make this the time to pursue that IN ADDITION TO my other calling.

The Word and Sacrament track in the ELCA is no easy feat. Four full-time years of graduate school education, PLUS an intense internship doing CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education), which is fancy word for Chaplaincy Internship. Due to COVID, my plans for CPE were delayed and that is where the crazy past 5 months come into play – I had to ADD 400 hours of CPE work on top of my schooling, and on top of my business. Essentially, three jobs. Whew! I can see the finish line for CPE (March 12!) and I’ll be happy to cross it, but it has been an incredible experience. Being a chaplain is difficult normally, but during COVID it has been quite the roller coaster ride.

Being a chaplain is the “art of awkward,” to quote one of my fellow chaplains. It’s learning to abide with others during their times of greatest sorrow, difficulty, stress, and turmoil. It’s learning to sit with them, knowing you can’t offer solutions, only love and air hugs and a listening ear. Sometimes we have some personal experience related to what our patients are going through, sometimes not. But, ultimately, it’s letting people know they are seen and heard and their pain is real and recognized and important to us and to God.

I feel like my last 12 years in business has been a warmup for CPE. Not only do I get to literally embrace my customers with comfortable undergarments for their braces, but I get to ABIDE with them as they go through a very difficult time. I can use my personal experience, being a Mom of two children with curvy spines, but we all walk a different path and every case is unique. All I can do is listen, try to offer solutions when I can, and let you know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE in this struggle.

I SEE YOU, I HEAR YOU, AND I KNOW SCOLIOSIS IS DIFFICULT.

I do not plan to abandon my calling to be there for you. I may not blog as much as I’d like, or post to social media as much as I’d like, but I AM here – seeing you, hearing you, praying for you. Until next time…

Chaplain Tina in the time of COVID

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