I returned Wednesday evening from a three-day ministerial career assessment in Westchester, IL. A requirement for ministerial credentialing in the UUA, this time was meant to give me space for reflection and analysis of where my life is now, where it is headed, and how a career in ministry is or is not along my journey forward. The experience was very formative and gave me a lot of great things to think about. While the discussions and events throughout these three days are confidential because of the agreement I made with other ministerial candidates, I wanted to share one salient point that has remained on my heart.
The last activity before the five of us returned to our separate lives was an opportunity to give presents to one another. These presents were not tangible, they were spiritual. There purpose were to be tools and reminders of certain things that will help us along our travels towards ministry. While I cherish each of my gifts, there was one that stuck out to me that I wanted to lift up today: the breath of life. Read the rest of this entry
A couple days ago, I commented on the state of transitions in this country, namely how we, as a collective people, view and prepare for changes in our lives. In that article, I discussed some concerns I had about how our social structure fails to embrace this change and effectively prepare individuals who are going through transitions, ranging from coming of age to graduation to death. My hope is to reflect in this article on ways to make this transition more beneficial for all.
I write this as I just completed my last final exams at DePaul just over an hour ago. It is a time of great transition in my life and therefore this topic is of personal importance, as well. The concern I have with the issue at hand is that I feel that the transitions we face in life our not fully being embraced and recognized in all of the beauty and complexity they possess. It is an odd occurrence because innovation and change is appreciated and encouraged quite a lot in the marketplace in this country.
I could hear my heart thumping, racing wildly, twisting and turning uncomfortably, wanting to get out. I squirmed in my seat, attempting to find that right position where I could both see, but also hide from what I was witnessing. My thoughts were all over the place, non-linear, even illogical at times. And my spirit was distressed, pained by the many words and experiences from the night. The concepts of patience and universal respect were hard for me to maintain last night as I sat in Cortelyou Commons with dozens of other DePaul students, listening to Ann Coulter discuss politics, religion, and other social issues.
Her talk was entitled, “What Your Professor Will Never Teach You,” a purposefully suggestive title, but relevant as some students at DePaul, namely the College Republicans who invited her, believe that 100% of Political Science professors at this school are either liberal or “something other than conservative.” While I am a bleeding heart liberal, any allegation of that nature inspires me to reflect on both its validity and what implications such a lopsided Political Science Department might have on the students within those classes (and if the trend is contagious, students from around the country). Ultimately, there is a much more serious and less logistical reflection to be had; I ask myself how do I, as a person of faith, react and respond to a person like Ann Coulter and the views that she expressed so forcefully last night.
I woke up Friday morning quite distressed to the remnants of a dream that was slowly being enveloped by the reality of the environment around me and the comfort of loved ones refreshing me to the new day. But, I was still sad, crying even, at times without end, an experience both rare and frightening upon reflection. While the substance of the dream may have been slightly unrelated to the substance that I was upset about, and while the feelings, the tears, have now relinquished and evaporated from my face and heart, I still feel an odd need to reflect on those emotions that came from this dream a few mornings ago.
The dream was about Hattie’s maternal grandparents, but mainly her grandfather Phil who if you ever have the blessing of meeting him you will find him to be a funny and gracious man, husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. In the dream, Phil was pretty sick and it was taking a toll on me, although I was surrounded by his family and loved ones. There was not much more content to the dream besides that because I recall waking up with tears flowing down my cheeks and a deep whole growing in the place where the memories of my maternal grandfather never fully blossomed.