In case you're wondering, no this is not the hospital at which I will be working anytime soon...

But I do have news (forgive me if you're already heard): I have officially accepted a position as a Chaplain Resident at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio (tentatively beginning at the end of August). After several interviews with several programs, I realized that the Clinic is where I both want and need to be. It will be an intense year full of change and growth and crying and laughing and ________.

Frankie will be staying here since the program is only a year long. We aren't under the delusion that this will be easy for us, but we do believe that it is the right thing for us right now. It is still scary. It will be difficult. But it will be worth it.

It feels weird to have made a decision, to have my future more planned out than I imagined it would be this early in the game. Yet at the same time, I am truly excited for the possibilities this adventure has in store. I am thrilled to be settling into my newfound love for professional chaplaincy, even if I don't fully know what that means for me. Day after day, I seem to receive signs (or at least nods from the universe) that this is my path, my passion, my calling, and my identity.

Chaplaincy for me is a dynamic, complex field. It's about more than showing up. Presence is more than coming into a patient's space and asking, "How are you feeling today?" though that is frequently a part of it. Chaplaincy is about being part of a care team seeking to help people experience wholeness — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational. It is about bringing people closer to themselves, rooting them in the moment, and being willing to enter their experiences, even when it hurts... especially then. There are rarely concrete answers. There's no clear formula for how to "do" chaplaincy. It's about showing up, listening, and listening for the real needs of those for whom you provide care.

This is not a long post. I don't plan on writing (or trying to write) anything remotely profound. But I do want to say this: thank you. To all my friends, family, colleagues, professors, mentors, coworkers, and everyone else who has crossed my path and affirmed that this is where I need to go and what I need to do. Never in a million years would I have dreamed that I'd find my true calling in ministry, much less before I turned 30 (which is approaching far too rapidly). You have all had a huge impact on my life, and I owe each of you a debt of gratitude.

Peace and love always, Michael