All. Done.

I suppose the lead up to the finish has been long and I've already been living into being done for a while now, so that today was mostly a low key day of celebration and realization that I have completed the certificate program in Spiritual Direction at North Park Seminary.

Whew. Wow.

Three years ago when the church encouraged me to undertake this path of certification and training, I had no idea of the intensity of it, or of the work required to complete the course. I do now, and I'm different for it. Better, much better even.

My evaluations and personal reviews with my peer group and my professors were very affirming, not just in the area of Spiritual Direction, but in what I brought Pastorally to the class and to my training. There is this pastoral or shepherding vibe that I carry about in me that, when given room, can bring some healing to a place. Funny how I'm finding myself at the end of that road, again. I need to hear that, and accept that, and use it for good.

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My classmates of Cohort 2, classy bunch that they are, gathered from all over the world, and I shall miss them immensely. We have practiced on each other, listened to one another, laughed and cried, literally, with each other, been pressured together, worshiped and prayed and mocked each other, and now celebrated for each other.

Last night I sat beside a Latino friend who finally worked up the nerve to ask about a very painful part of my life relationships that I had shared in direction last year. She had been afraid to ask about it because she did not want to cause me pain, but last night she worked up the nerve to ask. I was glad to be able to tell her how the situation had changed, night to day. She began to weep as she searched for the words to tell me how she had prayed for me through the year.
And that's how it's been for many of us, praying for the other ones.

I will miss them deeply.

It was so good to have Lauralea here today too. Her encouragement to stick with it and freedom to walk away if I wanted, helped me to be able to finish so well. Many many times I was reading or doing homework for the course, working till late into the next morning at the office, and she didn't complain. I was so glad to have her meet this place and these people who have shared my life these years. That was such a good thing, for both of us, and we are grateful.

And now, as we await our flight out of this slowcooker of a city, we shall take in some healing jazz, and some of the best Pizza this world has to offer. A Chicago hotdog, maybe a river cruise, and a shop or church or museum or two. Whatever she wants.


All done, and good night,
from Chicago.

Comments

  1. Congatulations Randall, talk to you soon.

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  2. Congrats! Rest, enjoy, eat twice the pizza you would normally as if you were eating it for me.

    " The Road goes ever on and on
    Down from the door where it began.
    Now far ahead the Road has gone,
    And I must follow, if I can,
    Pursuing it with eager feet,
    Until it joins some larger way
    Where many paths and errands meet.
    And whither then? I cannot say.

    The Road goes ever on and on
    Out from the door where it began.
    Now far ahead the Road has gone,
    Let others follow it who can!
    Let them a journey new begin,
    But I at last with weary feet
    Will turn towards the lighted inn,
    My evening-rest and sleep to meet."


    -- J R R Tolkien

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  3. I feel that shepherding vibe when I read these entries. Well done good and faithful servant. Maybe you can share with me what you bring forth from this experience. There are so many paths to spiritual direction, you are on yours, I am on mine. I've got a few more months to go for my certificate.

    I hope your trip home was uneventful and that you got there safe and sound.

    Jeremy

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  4. Well done feller, pressing on to the end.

    Wonder what you'll find to take up 105% of your spare time now? ;-)

    Have a great time of rest and refreshing - I've a feeling my joke above isn't too far from the truth.

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  5. Many sincere congratulations on the completion of a course and a new refinement of your world view that always seems to come upon completion of such difficult and fulfilling work at school. God is good. Brings back memories of seminary grad out here. Enjoy the fruits of all your labours there in Chicago and safe travel home.

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