Tuesday, May 7, 2013

On endings and new beginnings

It occurs to me that, although I have not written much on this blog of late, I should mark the end of my time as a student since, as of May 20, I will be fully graduated and in possession of a Master of Divinity degree. Then I imagine it will be time to move on to a new blog with a new title and, just maybe, with more frequent posts!

In the intervening months since my post-Sandy Hook post, I have been to the UK twice, once on our senior pilgrimage to Canterbury and another time for a class on Bede and Cuthbert that took me to Durham and York. There's something very sacred about sinking ones roots deep into Anglican soil to understand whence this Episcopal Church sprang. There's also something sacred about the kinds of relationships that are forged when spending such intense amounts of time with travelling companions. I have such love and affection for my classmates after three years, and travelling together only solidified that. I am grateful that our Episcopal Church is small enough that I will be crossing paths with all of them in the years to come. This is a great relief as the goodbyes (for now) begin.

One of my favorite things about England.

As the classwork is ended, and I have some time to reflect (granted for only 34 hours at this point), I am pretty much convinced that I learned a lot while at Yale Divinity School. Academically, it could not have been more rigorous, and my formation in my Berkeley Divinity School community served to form me in our Anglican tradition so that I feel prepared to venture out into the world as an ordained person (coming up on June 2). I'm also convinced that most of my learning and formation did not take place in the classroom. No, that happened in morning prayer and Eucharist every morning at St. Luke's Chapel at Berkeley Center. It took place drinking coffee, worshiping with the YDS community in Marquand Chapel, visiting with professors and staff in casual conversation. It came from getting off the hill into the city of  New Haven, finding places to be in relationship, to offer what gifts I have and opening myself to receive abundant gifts in return. It came from unexpected contacts with classmates, revelations about personal or private aspects of their lives All those moments of grace that I neither sought nor expected all served to form me in rich and life-changing ways. Apparently it's never too late to teach an old dog some new tricks, or to be changed and formed by life and experiences and relationships.

Springtime on the Quad. I'll miss this place.

I need to say that none of this would have been possible without the constant love and support of my beloved husband. We have been apart, except on weekends, for almost three years. Much of our summer months have even been spent in different cities and even continents. I don't think I could tell you how we survived it except that we spent a lot of time on the phone, Skype, text, e-mail, and Facebook when we weren't together and, when we were, we tried our best to be fully present to each other. It also helps that he really believes in my call to ordained ministry, and in this his Reformed sensibilities come in handy because he is convinced that if God is calling me, all the gates of hell will not prevail against it. He also loves God and loves the Church and loves me, and those loves influence how he approaches life. I'm one lucky girl.

Together on the trip to Durham.

And if I could, I'd like to put in a plug for his first book, Head Trash: Cleaning Out the Junk that Stands between You and Success. Today is the official release date! I'm so proud.

What's next for me? I don't know yet! I'm returning to South Africa in June to do some research for a book and hoping that, before I leave, I'll know where I'll be hanging my hat when I return. I'm not worried, though. God has a place for me, and I can be patient until that place is made clear. But I can't wait to get started.

Stay tuned!  

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