Monday, June 11, 2007

Back to the Mill 

After a week's rest on vacation in Chicago I am back in the office. My vacation split itself into two decidedly different portions, which I will aptly name "the First" and "the Second."

The first portion was somewhat discouraging with moments of brightness. I went back to my seminary for graduation and to see some friends. After a distinctly cold reception on the part of the institution - contrasting sharply with the warm greeting I received from the students and the Bible professors - I brushed the dust off my feet and didn't look back. Because the Commencement speaker was the Presiding Bishop, tickets were required for entry to the proceedings. Now, I made my plans to attend this event before I knew who the Homilist was going to be, so I knew nothing about tickets until about a week before when MacDaddy told me about them. I called the (newly-installed) Rector of St. Luke's - where Commencement is held - and she said, "Ryan, if they don't let you in, we'll put you in vestments and sit you up front!" Well, we didn't quite have to go that far, but I did need to say I was there as a guest of St. Luke's in order to get past the guards at the door.

The Girlfriend, who accompanied me on the First Part of the vacation, was not too impressed with the hospitality level and remarked, "Everyone up here is mean." I attempted a response like, "Well, I'm sure they're all just stressed out cause the PB is here..." but even that rang hollow with me after a while.

The PB gave a sermon. Unfortunately, that's about all I can say about it. It wasn't remarkable in any way, either positive or negative. It was a sound, if unadorned, graduation sermon. If I had not heard her speak eloquently and with great amounts of honesty, integrity, and realism the day before to a group of students (you know, those who paid tuition in the last 11 months), my estimation of her might have slipped.

I got no sense of awe or majesty from her that I guess I expected from meeting the Presiding Bishop, but I quickly decided that was a good thing. She struck me as just a regular person who happened to be the Presiding Bishop. Yes, a very good thing indeed. She answered questions with precision when she could and admitted difficulty when it occurred. In response to the query, "What's the hardest part of the job," she responded, "Somehow trying to deal with those who refuse to talk with you." Ay, that would be tough, and no doubt maddening.

A quick sailing trip on Lake Michigan with the Rector of St. Luke's, some friends, and The Girlfriend served as a remedy for the weekend. Sunday worship at St. Luke's was powerful for me. I was moved to tears by once again being able to hear the voices of the St. Luke's choir raised and by being in what, for me, amounts to a very holy place in which I consistently encounter God in a unique way.

The Girlfriend departed Sunday night back to Florida and I spent a restful remainder of the week at my good friends' Taylor and Kate's condo on the Southside. There was no schedule, no plans, and I loved it. I spent a goodly amount of time playing with their seven month old Weimaraner, Lily (who later in the week at my shoes, but oh well, they were old anyway) and relaxed on the couch reading my books. I saw some friends in the city, but not as many as I would have liked. Unfortunately, there was just not time for everything. We cooked, we laughed, we watched movies, and for a fleeting few days, it was like I never left. A wonderful quiescence in which I cleared the dust out of my head and soul and returned to the homefront recharged.



Hey Ryan, didn't see you at church on Sunday! Glad you were there though. Hope all is well.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:50 AM  

Ryan, I'm sorry to hear that you and your girl had such an unwelcome time here. We will have to work on being more welcoming and friendly. I hope she doesn't completely give up on Chicagoans.
Peace and Blessings, Court.

By Blogger The Cowardly Seminarian, at 4:21 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

By Blogger Jeff, at 1:26 PM  

Darn spelling errors...

I wish I could have been in Chicago to hang out with you. Hopefully, I'll get to come to Florida once you get your weather cooled down a bit...

By Blogger Jeff, at 1:27 PM  

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