In August of 2012, I embarked on a journey through seminary at Candler School of Theology. Yesterday, I finished my last class. I have so many people to thank for their tolerance, encouragement and support. There are people who believed in me when I did not believe in myself. It has been a long, strange part of my journey. Our son was born during my first semester. Yesterday, after my last exam, we went for a ride on his tandem bike trailer.
Life is change.
We often see the change in others, but seeing change in ourselves can be deceptive or elusive. I know I am not a “finished” person. Yesterday, my wonderful, loving, insightful adviser, the Rev. Dr. Noel L. Erskine, gave me yet another lesson in how far I have to go, gently and sincerely reminding me that Candler gives you many gifts, but Candler does not make you perfect. The biggest gift, way beyond the explicit academic learning, is the gift of agapic love and acceptance that the school lives as an essence of its being.
May I learn to live it.
All the time.
Not just when I am paying attention.
While Candler’s Contextual Education gets students out into the real world, and opportunities for enhancing your spiritual life abound, there is a certain busyness of reading and writing that occupies so much time and attention. So, even before graduation next Monday, I am going to the woods for a few days. To stop. To pay attention. To be quiet.
I’ve finished the course work. I’m having a hard time celebrating. There is joy. There is hope. There is so much work to do. There is so much more to learn. There is so much more love to give and receive.
So many more steps along the journey.