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Posts tagged ‘Clinical Pastoral Education’

CPE and Family

Well this past week has certainly been a wild one! I finished CPE last Friday, had my brother visit Saturday and Sunday, and my mom visit Monday through Thursday. Yesterday and today I’ve been working on re-organizing my room, clearing out books (I’m lending last year’s books out to those who need them and donated a big box of extra books for the school’s book sale this fall) and making dragons. Yes, you read that last line right. I’m working on crocheting dragons, something I’ve been doing for about a week now. To date, I’ve made four dragons and each one has had something new added to it. The first one, pictured here: was made with leftover yarn and stuffed with grocery bags. Right now it’s sitting proudly on my newly cleared off bookshelf. It cost me less than seventy cents since I had all the materials and only paid for the eyeballs. The second dragon I made was just like the first, only slightly smaller (I used a smaller hook to have tighter stitches) and filled with poly-fil. The third and fourth were made as gifts.

But anywho, that’s getting away from the original purpose of my post. As I mentioned before, I have now finished with CPE. WOO HOO!!! It was a really great experience and, while I didn’t have any on-call experiences (the only call received was actually an additional on-call which one of the students volunteered for) it was still an extremely formative experience. I made a lot of connections, quite a few friends, and learned SO much from everyone at that hospital. Oh, and I certainly learned where the good food was in the Quad Cities. I learned about many other religions, learned about our supervisor and the fellow CPE students, and a ton about myself.

It has certainly been a joy to see everyone slowly coming back onto campus and can’t wait to share more stories with everyone. We’ve even “CPE’d” others from time to time-often in gest, sometimes in sincerity. Mostly it’s just having fun asking the typical CPE questions/statements “say more on that” “I’m not sure I understand” “tell me what these tears are about” “how did that make you feel” “explain that to me” etc. But from time to time we have actually worked out different issues. I’ve been more open with others and have learned a lot about why I do certain things. Now only time will tell if this raised awareness will be maintained. I’m sure I’ll never be the same as before, but I’m hoping my mind is able to slow down at least a little bit between now and the beginning of classes.

As far as family, it has been amazing! Before CPE was done my parents came to visit me on the weekend and we had an amazing couple of days. Then the weekend after CPE, my brother came for a visit (no doubt leaving before daylight) and we explored the Wartburg castle and a good chunk of Dubuque. Then sadly 😦 he had to leave. But then mom came to visit from Monday until Thursday. Once again Dubuque and the castle were explored by Johnsons, and I do believe I won every single game of cards we played. But I did have the home-field advantage.

After mom left, it was time to enjoy time with more “family” by having get-togethers with the Wartburg family for the last two nights. Tonight I’ll be volunteering with St. Mark’s providing a meal in the community to those in need and then tomorrow I’ll be visiting a new church (well, new to me) with some more Wartburgers that just got back on campus today. Then Monday and Tuesday will be dedicated to making sure my room is organized/work on my Endorsement paper and then on Wednesday I’ll be returning to my beloved family and “church family” in De Pere! I’ll be there through Sunday and then it will be time to return to Dubuque and finish off my Endorsement paper and start classes!

It seems like a whole lot of craziness, but I couldn’t be happier with where I am in life. I’m following God’s call, growing so much in mind and spirit (and maybe shrinking a bit in body) and feel a strong call to this life. I know I’ll be able to get through it with the support of so many amazing people and thank God each day for everyone in my life. THANKS BE TO GOD!!!

Peace to You All!

Paul Johnson


Far Too Long For An Update!

Hello, All!
As the title suggests, it has certainly been too long since my last post. I’ve been having a great time with CPE over the last two months. It hasn’t been all positive, but I’m getting to a point where I’m able to learn from the good AND the bad experiences. Believe you me, there have been plenty of each! In any case, I’m finally in the home stretch (three weeks left!) and am looking forward to finishing the experience and move on to learning Hebrew and write the ever-looming Endorsement essay.


I can’t wait to return back home for a while and worship with the wonderful people of St. John Lutheran! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the end of CPE than to worship back home and sin praises to the God that has called me to this amazing life. I couldn’t have done it without God or God’s people of St. John! I’m still working out what the date will be that I’ll finally be able to return, but I’m hoping to have at least one Sunday of rejuvination back in De Pere before the semester starts. And I’ll certainly be at the church picnic again this year to celebrate.


After that I’ll return back to the seminary and rejoin my fellow classmates, struggle with learning yet another language, and continue my calling. Most days it still seems so unreal that I’m actually here. I’m told the feeling can last a while, so I’ll just enjoy it for the time being. This is going to be another amazing, inspiring year, I can feel it!


Blessings to All!

A Prayer from a Patient

Well Hey There!

Last week I got a prayer from one of my patients who thought I could share it with others. I read it at my home church on Father’s Day and had several people ask for a copy of it, so here it is! I hope you find as much comfort from it as I have and the patient who shared it with me.


A Prayer for Healing


I come before you today in need of your healing hand. In you all things are possible. Hold my heart within yours, and renew my mind, body and soul. I am sad, but I am singing. You gave us life, and you also give us the gift of infinite joy. Give me the strength to move forward on the path you’ve laid out for me. Guide me towards better health, and give me the wisdom to identify those you’ve placed around me to help me get better. In your name, I pray.


I feel that despite it being a prayer for healing, it works incredibly well for everyday prayer. Maybe especially because it asks for healing. I think that, no matter who you are, there’s something in your life that still needs God’s healing touch. I know there’s definitely things in my life that need to be healed. I encourage you to take a moment and pray this prayer. If you feel like you really don’t have anything you need healing for, then pray it for someone else. The prayer is flexible enough that you can put someone else’s name into it if you wanted to as well.

May God grant you healing, comfort, and peace. God Bless!

CPE, flying by!

Wow, I can’t believe it has already been two and a half weeks since I started CPE! The experience has been a truly influential one, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next two months of work with this program. I have learned so much about myself, about interacting with others, and about the wonderful chaplains, nurses, case-managers, staff, and patients at the hospital! The group of chaplain interns which I am a part of has been such a tremendous group of individuals that have helped me in so many ways already. I can’t even begin to imagine what lies ahead for us as a group.

This week is our first real week of chaplain/patient interaction and I must say things are, to borrow a Winstonian phrase, “moving along smartly.” I have met with quite a few patients, have been asked back by some (which I take as a good sign) and have even completed an Advance Directive with a patient. Basically an Advance Directive is like a living will and power of attorney all rolled into one to make a stronger, more impactful legal document. For those of you reading this that haven’t completed one of these documents, I would highly suggest you do so. I plan on completing one when I return home next. Anyone age eighteen and above should seriously consider filling out an Advance Directive to avoid medical snafus if one becomes hospitalized and is not able to make decisions for him or herself.

I only WISH regular were only $1.72/gal!

On another note, I must send out a HUGE thank you to those of you who have sent financial assistance, prayed, called etc. I appreciate all that you do and can only express a very humble and heartfelt thank you! The gas card for one will be an enormous help with the daily commute back and forth from Dubuque, Iowa to Rock Island, Illinois. Not sure if you would want to be named, but you know who you are!

Unfortunately it is approaching my bedtime, but I would like to wish you all a pleasant night, a productive and fulfilling week, and a rejuvenating weekend. To each and every one of you,



CPE…What a Gas!

Hello Everyone!

I just wanted to let you know that Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) has begun for me as of Tuesday. I’ve had a great time the first three days and really feel like we have a special group of people. Unfortunately, I can’t really go too much into the details, but I will tell you that we have already had some major breakthroughs. That after only three days? I can only imagine what we’ll have accomplished after eleven weeks!

There’s really only two major issues I see with this program… time and gas money. Don’t get me wrong, I’m having a great time, but with these two, I seem to be in short supply. Nothing I can’t handle, of course, but I guess it’s a bit more drastic than I originally thought. The gas money issue shouldn’t be as bad once the four of us going to the Quad Cities start carpooling together (if it works out) but the time is a bit rough. I get up at 5AM, leave by 6:20 for the drive to Rock Island and then am there until 4:30 when we’re able to start the drive back home. By the time we get back it’s almost twelve hours since we’ve been in Dubuque. And by then, I have time to eat supper, pack my lunch for the next day, and go to bed around 8:30.

Despite all the obstacles, I’m really looking forward to getting started with this program. At the end of last semester I had asked God to show me a way I could be a voice for the voiceless. That’s still a work in progress, but I realize this program will help me to be something else entirely. I’ll be a presence for the lonely, comfort for the distressed, someone who will listen and be present in the turmoil, in the questions and doubts. I’ll be a friend, a hand to hold, and a reminder of God’s ever-presence in our lives. I can be all those things because of God. God called me to follow, and instead of saying “no” again, I simply followed.

I still marvel over the fact that God chose me. Then I remember the words “God doesn’t call the equipped, but equips the called” and it makes sense. I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t have to. I just have to trust the process and open myself to the possibilities. I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. At this point, I hope Christ just works on strengthening my ability to shut up and listen. Because the biggest equipping I see that will happen in CPE is learning how to listen fully. With eyes, ears, heart, mind and soul.