Well, maybe not in the saddle, but at least back in the real world again. Thanks to the annual August pilgrimage to Dubuque and its attendant reading, writing and socializing I have been everywhere but on the blog. In fact, I was barely on any social media for the past 3 weeks or so as I prepped, traveled and took part in my classes… and I’m still processing a lot of it. Meanwhile, here are a few thoughts:
1. This was our last August intensive, leading into the last fall semester of the program. We’ll be back in town for a J-term, complete classes online for the Spring semester… and then we graduate. For real. I’ve been joking about senioritis a bit… but it has clearly hit all of us hard. Lots of laughter, silliness and hanging out happened, even among those who typically are the reclusive studious types. And everyone admitted to having a harder time than usual getting in gear for reading and writing papers. It’s a good thing we’re down to the last few credits.
2. Somewhat related- the reality that we are that much closer to seeking calls, getting ordained and being installed into ministry positions. One of our classmates is already heading out to a church as a “designated” pastor while he finishes up one last Ord exam and our classwork. For me, the whole thing became real when we did our graduation photos. We took turns putting on a robe and the hood. It was heavy and official and a reminder that I feel so prepared and unprepared all at the same time. I’m kind of thankful that no one had made me “robe up” to preach yet… there was something a little sacred about that moment of panic between me and God and the robe.
3. I am still working my way through some conversations we had in class about baptism, catechesis, confirmation, vow, etc. And processing those alongside the conversation we had in Company of New Pastors about ordination vows. And thinking about how differently I am feeling about sacraments than I did when I started this whole seminary thing 5 years ago. Yeah… Much to think about and celebrate there.
4. This was the first time I totally (well 98%) disconnected from work for the intensive. Just handled a few things and let the rest sit. It was good. And I may even survive re-entry. I’ll know more on that in the next 3-4 days.
5. The FPK and the hubs made it through the two weeks better than usual. I shall chalk that up to busyness and some maturation. They had plenty of doctor and other appointments, mostly related to the knee surgery the kiddo survived. They also spent plenty of time playing, watching movies and generally bonding. It was nice to feel mostly confident that they were fine this time. At least the worry was more focused on something known and planned, rather than waiting for random weirdness.