Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Finding a Rhythm

So I'm almost done with my third week of classes and I apologize for neglecting my blog. Not that I think anyone is checking their computer everyday with baited breath to see what witty things I might have to impart, but I did make a commitment to keep people up to date on my journey. I am ever grateful for the support that my family and friends are giving me – in all forms that it comes: prayer, encouragement, conversation, emails, and financial. I would not be here and would not be able to get through a day here without any of it!!! Thank you for being a part of my life.

Being back in school at 42 is a challenge – learning how to take notes, study, and manage my time with all of the homework – but I think I'm getting my brain around it some. I am enjoying all of my classes: Intro to Old Testament, Teaching the Faith, Personal Wellness, Foundations of Theological Inquiry, and From the Gospel to the Gospels. There is a ton of reading for each week and this week began the assignment of papers to write. Our (me and my fellow "first-years") first paper was an inductive study on Genesis … have you ever sat down and read Genesis front to back? It takes a long time! We were lost and discombobulated, spending endless hours working on it, feeling like we were shooting arrows down a dark alley and hoping there is a target at the end. What we found out is that every group of first-years has to do this same assignment and they all have the same reaction. One of the professors (not the one who assigns it) used the words "right-of-passage" to describe it today. We have two papers due next week – one titled "The Confessions of <insert your name>" that is to be written (loosely) in the style of St. Augustine, and one titled "Exploring the Kerygma" in which we will explore several summaries of early Christian preaching and come to some conclusion about the content of the Kerygma. Does anyone know what Kerygma means!?!?! I guess I'd better Google it …

I had my first panic moment on Monday about how on earth I was going to keep up with all of this. In addition to classes and assignments, there is daily chapel and meals and Wednesday community events and chapel team meetings and … and, I still need to work at least 10 hours a week. As I lay on my bed, asking God to give me the strength to get up and get one more chapter read, I began to hear the bass rhythm that I hear most every day coming from the room below me and I was reminded of the talk our Chaplain gave the very first week on finding our life's rhythm. The basic beat is given to us here – breakfast followed by morning prayer and evening prayer followed by supper and on Wednesdays we have Eucharist. These are the communal events of our days. (I'm not a musician, so bear with me through this metaphor) The melody is our classes and assignments; the harmony is the "other things" – individual time in scripture and prayer, working out, Thursday nights at the pub, Sunday group supper. It all comes together as the song God is playing in our life. We first-years are new to the band, but we'll catch on to the tune and the music will glorify God.

God's Peace,


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Getting My Head around it All

I've been in Toronto a week now, seven days and the world I knew seems so far away. I don't mean that as a bad thing, just the way it is. The culture shock I have begun to experience isn't the difference between the US and Canada but between living a life of separate "places" – work, church, and home – and now living in the world of Christian Academia where I live, study (okay, the actual studying won't start for another day or two), worship, and work in the same place with the same group of people. A life completely different from what I've ever experienced and a life I already know that I am blessed to be a part of.

I spent the week getting to know fellow students and professors, finding my away around campus and the part of Toronto immediately adjacent to the University, and adjusting to community living and I can say it has been a very good week. I have my student ID, my schedule, and my books. I've begun to refer to the college building as home and the three flights of stairs to my rooms isn't near as difficult to climb as it was seven days ago (no elevator!). I can now sleep with the traffic noise outside my window (no air conditioning and it is still warm enough to need the window open). I've figured out getting all my stuff back and forth to the washroom (not the bathroom but the washroom) every morning and found the athletic facilities for my daily cardio workout. I'm using Canadian currency and have figured out that I can only run my debit card as a credit card here. When people say the temperature in Celsius, I'm not looking at them near as cross-eyed as I was (25 is comfortable). We pray for the Queen at chapel and I just whisper "and for the President" immediately after. People here really do use "eh" quite often in conversation and they laugh when I use "Y'all". We've gone for a pint at the pub and I've eaten sweet potato fries.

Classes begin on Tuesday and I'm excited but a little overwhelmed when I think about all that will need to get done each week. Yet, I know that somehow it will all get done … breathe deep the breath of God.

God's Peace my friends!