Monday, May 28, 2012

A blogging history oops!

Okay, it's a holiday weekend and I completely spaced out blogging last night. Whoa, could not believe this happened and was going to write this morning and the day was gone. The week has been intense as we ended the semester at the high school and I began a summer school class. Needless to say I am feeling extremely whiney tonight and just want to retreat. However, there are still grades to be finished and a paper to write so boo to calm.

The week was difficult as I experienced a mix of emotions while taking leave of teaching. It is not easy to honor the both/and reality that I am walking in at this moment. I will so miss the faculty, students and ministry of high school life. The freshness of each day and the moments of complete uncertainty before opening my mouth to the first class of the day. These things are the magical moments that make teaching so rewarding.One of the sisters told me today that if you do not feel the pain of leaving a ministry you were never really there in the first place. Of course she said it more eloquently. Well, I am feeling this pain with a sour mix of joy at the time I have had being with such a great group of people. These years have taught me much. Basically this grieving thing is not my favorite activity...the tears are so close much of the time it is like I just lost my best friend. This has become integral to my daily life and now it is time to let go. This week I need to carve out some time to reflect and maybe that will help. A couple bike rides might just be in, I won't put the video on from last time....I promise.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pondering from the Bike Path

Remember "Bicycle Race" by Queen...I never liked that song and it is just going through my head like a tornado revving up for the big spin. The last two days I have been able to go for some rides and wow does that have a way of clearing my head. It has been too long and this year my goal is to prep for 100K in August. I rode up this bridge onto the trail and was surprised that I was not out of breath when I got to the top.

Yesterday was another gathering of Sisters and Associates who are interested in dreaming together about our future. This group always connects in a way that is invigorating and when leaving there is much to think about. We have now invited others to join us for an afternoon in July when the community gathers for CSA Days (this is our summer gathering - as it gets closer I will write more about it, just know that this is when we come together from different places). After we met I reflected on the centrality of CSA in my life and began to wonder what things will be like down the road. A friend recently asked the question, "Am I living my Religious Life radically enough?" This resonates with me in a big way.

What does it mean to be radical in the 21st Century? My thought is that we are called to present to society and the world in a way that is different than it was in the 19th and 20th Centuries. It seems that there is such hunger for a spiritual life among people from all different walks of life. We are gifted with a life that not only fosters a strong spiritual life, it is encouraged. I take many retreat opportunities each year. Two silent retreats (an eight day and a three day) and at least one other (this year it will be like four other retreats...I am on a roll). We also have opportunities for communal prayer that is outside of the liturgy and that is another source of replenishing. These are things that I do not see available to many other people. Yet, some of the reading I have done about the New Monasticism indicates there is a shift in this (the book I read is Ancient Faith, New Mission: New Monasticism as Fresh Expression of Church, written by Graham Cray, Ian Mobsby and Aaron Kennedy).  I wonder how I can share the fruits of my life in new ways? My guess is that my desire to study leadership through doctoral work and the interest I have in transformational leadership and community is very much connected to my questions. It also seems that moving to Fond du Lac has everything to do with these questions. Soon I will embark on the next phase and see what it brings...for now let's listen to Queen.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Bittersweet Week

This week was bittersweet and an emotional roller coaster. I am putting the content of this information in my blog and recognize some people reading have not been informed about my plans for the next months and this might be easier than putting it on my facebook page. Long story, but it all started with a prayer experience and this overwhelming internal shift that caused me to consider moving  Fond du Lac next year. I wish I could be more clear about it, yet that has never been my experience of call. So, I entered discernment, worked it out with CSA (my community) and informed Dominican High School I would not be returning, and this week I announced it to the students. Wow, that was a challenge. Each class I talked with my words were like a string of bumbling thoughts tied together. A difficult experience, yet the students were so very tender. I have only been teaching high school for seven years and the lives of these young people have continually invited me to transformation. They teach me how to love in so many ways that my life with them is indescribable. Listening to the still small voice inside is not as easy as it is to wake-up to the thought of being with the exuberant experience teens each day.

I am not sure what is going to happen when I go to Fond du Lac other than I will be studying full-time, or possibly seek out teaching opportunities. It seems the bottom line in this is that whatever the call is about it relates to presence and community. One student went home and told her Mom that I am leaving and that my community needs me. This made me smile, and was not quite what I meant to say to the class as I talked about the realities of Religious Life and being present to the process of letting-go of the past as we lessen in numbers, as we live out what is being called forth from us into the future. I did mention this experience about being present to what is happening in Fond du Lac so can see her translation. So I embrace what is to come and will continue to work with the Spirit of what this move will be about. I have lived alone for two years and look forward to living with another sister...of course that will be an adjustment for sure. In many ways this feels like an adventure and I welcome the growth opportunities that are ahead, and in contrast, there is trepidation as I leave what I love.

Well, it is the finale for Desperate Housewives tonight and I need to get a view of what happens. Hope you all have great week!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

War (No More Trouble)

Friday Dominican High School put on one of the most inspiring multicultural days I have experienced, and then last night I was able to witness the performance of our students share their talents through performance art in the spring "dance concert and musical revue," Inspirations. Both of these events leave me in wonder.

First a note about the multi-cultural day. At first when the school decided to go to this model I was not in favor. In the past we had a day to celebrate Black History Month and Cinco de Mayo program and that seemed necessary in bringing up the operative structures of oppression in our world.  Of course, we did not honor other ethnic minorities in our midst and, in retrospect I realize that from my own place of ignorance I did not understand this until Friday.  Wow, things opened up in a big way as the theater was filled with a stream of people representing different cultures through dance, ritual and song. I must admit that I am now somewhat embarrassed and glad I didn't voice my opinion about keeping things the way they were and am grateful to the school for offering a day dedicated to multi-cultural experiences.

Inspirations was fantastic, as I can only expect it to be each year.  The students have taught me much about what it means to love one another in ways beyond what I can do as an adult who is too often entrenched in my own world of bias and disbelief.  Now, don't get me wrong there are troubles among the student body and there are times of serious conflict. And, still they demonstrate what it means to be a community in ways that I have not experienced among adults. This was manifest in the performance as it is in the dailiness of Dominican life and I left the performance with a full heart.

I am not going to include a song from the performances today. Rather I offer you one of my favorites, written by Bob Marley and performed by Playing for Change I leave you with "War (No More Troubles." This song sums up my experience of Dominican High School this week and furthers my desire to be an agent of change in our world.