Taking CPE and serving as a chaplain should come with some warnings like the ones on the side of prescription drug bottles or the laundry list that is read during the pharmaceutical commercials. Here is what I have experienced thus far:

  • Uncontrollable crying during Pixar movies.
  • Developing a taste for McDonald’s french fries (because they are the only place open at 3 am after back to back calls have kept me from dinner.)
  • Annoying behavior of repeatedly telling all of my family members (and really anyone who will listen) my end of life wishes.
  • Strong desires to give CPE-ish feedback & critique to the angry guy yelling in front of me in line at Fairway.
  • Ability to watch a matinee of Wit and not leaving as depressed as the rest of the audience.
  • Getting to know my local cobbler on a first name basis due to all the shoes I tear through. Related: I no longer wear high heels anywhere.
  • Obsessive fears about my husband getting into a bike accident (this turns out to be not so unwarranted).
  • Feeling as though I really should listen to and counsel the crazy lady who sits next to me on the subway.
  • Overwhelming need to put at least one patient story into every sermon I preach.
  • Ability to fall asleep during a Phillies World Series game because of post-call exhaustion.
  • Knotty shoulders. I had a masseuse ask me once if I was storing acorns in there.

What are your unexpected chaplaincy side effects?