Less than a week after leaving SJ, I interviewed, and was accepted into, a CPE residency program. It wouldn't begin until September, so I had about three and a half months during which I was a stay-at-home-mom. In some ways, it was nice to be able to rest, bond with Nora, and explore our new community. On the other hand, I was fairly depressed, which meant that I slept a lot (Nora was still taking two 2+ hour naps a day) and didn't feel like doing anything whatsoever. I had the energy and motivation to take care of Nora, so she certainly wasn't neglected. I almost always managed to put something edible on the table for dinner. However, I didn't feel like doing much of anything else...unpacking and decorating (we had bought a house), cleaning, doing laundry, etc. I spent hours alternately beating myself up about the whole SJ fiasco and experiencing fits of rage when I thought about how I had been treated. Naturally, Harry would frequently get irritated with me. He was worried about our finances (we were OK, but there was no extra money) and frustrated that he'd often come home to a messy house with piles of dirty laundry. I can't really blame him; I'd have been angry with me, too. Nora was an easy baby, so she was usually happy to play with a toy for 20 minutes while I did something productive. Harry was concerned about me, and did show a lot of compassion, but even that has its limits. The marital stress did not do much for my emotional state, of course. I felt like a failure in many areas.
We began searching for a church to attend. As a UM pastor not appointed to a local church, I needed to "unite" with a Charge Conference in my area. Harry insisted on a contemporary worship service (I guess two years of singing dirges had gotten to him) and we wanted something less than 20 miles away. We visited about three different churches before we found the one we now attend. It's 14 miles away and the pastor is one of the most powerful people in the conference (I would not be surprised to see her as an episcopal candidate in the next 10-15 years). That last part sort of made me wary about the church (I'm still in the ordination process, and there are certainly politics involved), but her preaching and approachable personality, the great worship, and the warm congregation eventually won me over. I've experienced a lot of healing there and hope to be more involved once my residency is over with.
Next, I'll begin to share some of my CPE experience, and what I've learned as a result of that.