CPE was a wake up call for me. It brought me into the reality of ministry after sitting through years of seminary classes. I learned and am still learning so much about what it means to “take up the cross”. It was truly a summer of self-emptying and vulnerability. I really had to be open to God and open with others in order for residents to fill the space with their struggles and battles. It was a constant struggle to serve and not always receive that positive appreciation or feeling that I was making a difference. In the end CPE has helped me embrace my role as a pastoral caregiver and it has given me the initial tools to be with someone in their struggle.