Saturday, August 6, 2011

Remember The Alamo

     The Alamo is in the rear view mirror, I'm headin' up I-35 toward home in Austin. I have just spent the last 12 weeks doing CPE in San Antonio as part of my education. It was quite an experience being a hospital chaplain, I  know hospital chaplaincy is not my call but God bless those who do feel a call to it. It is tough work.
     I was with people at some of the hardest parts of their lives. My most memorable experiences were in the Adult ER, ICU, Oncology and Pediatric ICU. I had the priviledge of being with patients and their families as they face life changing decisions. Many, on the floors I served, had little chance of full recovery, it was more a matter of getting better to a lower level of norm. In the face of all of this, tremendous grace and courage was shown in the face of less than hopeful crcumstances.
     During this time, more has been asked of me than I ever imagined and I found I had little to fear. It is amazing to me what I am capable of when I am put in a situation and need to draw on my own resources.  I cannot describe what I have learned in these last 12 weeks and I do know that more will be revealed as I move further from this experience. 
     I have had a chance to go and do some of the things San Antonio has to offer. Just the other night the couple I have been staying with and I went on the water taxi ride down the San Antonio Riverwalk. We started at the newly restored Pearl Brewery down the river to downtown and back again. It was great fun and I highly recommend it. The tickets allow one to get on and off unlimited times in a 24 hour period. It's a great way to have lunch, visit the museums and stop for a cocktail downtown and end the day with an evening cruise back to the car. The city has done a beautiful job with the whole project.

The Blue Hole, Wimberly Texas

     One day, my classmates and I went to Wimberly, TX to poke around. The Blanco River runs through town and is one of those mystical Texas rivers I have come to love and be drawn to. We wandered up River Road and stopped to look at the clear green water. Limestone deposits color the water a beautiful emerald green.much like the turquoise blue of our Gulf water. Even though there has not been enough rain this summer, some of the springs are still running and feeding parts of the river. The Blue Hole is an old fashioned swimming hole tucked around the bend. All along this part of the Blanco huge 100-150 year old cypress tress line the banks and shade the river. Some of the trunks are 8' in diameter, incredible.

     We rode across Devil's Backbone to get to and from Wimberley. It's a stretch of road on FM 32 that runs along a ridge and there are incredible vistas off either side. I  suppose it was named Devil's Backbone long ago by some settlers, cowboys or indigenous people to describe the land, how it was to travel the land and be on the land. This is part of what touches me so deeply about Texas. The people have a connection to the land and history like none I have experieced before. 
         I have been living with a wonderful couple who graciously opened their home to me.  They are fun and interesting people who enjoy life and wake up each day ready to engage with the world. Jan is an artist, a potter. Courtenay is a retired educator who is an endless source of interesting tidbits that make for great conversation. Frequently we would have dinner together and spend hours at the table talking about all kinds of things, including politics which was mightly interesting! Maggie, their black lab, decided I was OK right away. We go on walks together; I throw the ball or the stick, which she loves. I have never seen a dog so excited when she knows she is going to get to retrieve the ball! All she has to do is come sit on my foot and she knows I will go out and throw to her, she know a sucker when she sees one. I will miss Jan and Courteneay, they have become dear friends and I know I will stay in touch with them.      This has been a good summer. I'm ready to be back home in Austin, ready to see my friends and get back into a routine. So I am ready to walk out the door, and head north and begin another adventure.

1 comment:

  1. Donna, I've prayed for you all summer knowing that this was your CPE term. I know you touched lives in amazing ways.

    I love your blogs! I can hear your laughter as you and Maggie played together. Your laughter is a sound I miss terribly, but know that I will hear again when you come back B'ham way.

    Bill sends his love...we are so proud of you!