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.
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.
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,