Friday, May 04, 2007

turn and face the change

We are sliding into May, and I am busy, but not as busy as our younger daughter, who is (I hope) graduating from high school in a month. She was in her school's production of Wizard of Oz, went to New York City with her school's chamber choir (they sang at Riverside Church), went on a spring break trip to Daytona (I prefer not to know alot about that), and has volunteered this week at the Wachovia Cup golf tournament. Most of this stuff is school approved, even encouraged, which means she is not penalized for missing classes but still has to make up the work. I sometimes think I am busy, but my schedule is nothing like hers!

Yesterday, she and I drove down to Wilmington. She finally chose UNCW to continue her education, among a really good group of schools, but I think she will be very happy. It appears to be a great place, and the students there seem to love it.

Early in the week I led a retreat for all first year clergy in our annual conference. It is a required experience for them, and it is a retreat that I led for several years, until I became a member (and later chair) of our board of ordained ministry. We focused mostly on transitional issues, on themes of wilderness, sabbath, and rest, on our need for disciplines and community. The setting, Camp Shepherd (or, as my friend Jim from Winston-Salem used to call it, Camp Mt. St. Shepherd) was relaxing, although a fairly large snake, and it was not a black snake, was basking in the cool of the day when I first entered my cabin. My daughter reminded me that I should be glad I have never seen the movie Snakes on A Plane. For a few years I led a number of retreats, and over time scaled back on all of that, but I enjoyed this. I have a real heart for people making the transition from school to work, negotiating their identity and trying to maintain some sanity in the midst of it all. As David Bowie sang, "turn and face the change".

Which I guess is what is going on with our daughter's graduation from high school, anticipating entrance into college at a school four hours away. I am not the young minister anymore, the words of seminary professors dancing in my head, dreams of yet one more degree rolling around in my conciousness. I am more than half way through the journey, and while it has been blessed and for the most part it has been grace, it is also all about change, and the longer I live, the less adaptive I am to change. I prefer to sleep in environments where there are no snakes lurking around. Maybe I myself need some kind of retreat, where I can negotiate my own identity and maintain some of my own sanity.


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