Since January of 2006 I have been enrolled in an extension program of Loyola University of New Orleans. It is called LIMEX, Loyola Institute for Ministry, Extension. I am almost done. Almost done meaning I have to write a 35 to 40 page paper, a synthesis - praxis paper which will help me see my ministry more clearly and enable me to mobilize my learnings into a coherent and focused practice. This is a pretty tall order and most days I'm sure I'm not up to it at all. This week, though I started thinking more about the paper. Well, maybe not so much the paper, but how my life has changed since I began this program.
I am no longer a religious education director but the stewardship director.
My children no longer live at home. My son has graduated college and is about to start a new job while my daughter is still in college.
My husband has changed careers after a long stretch without full time employment and he has entered the diaconate program.
My grandmother died, my husband's grandmother died, my dad had quadruple by-pass surgery, and my dear friend has had cancer twice.
I am not the person I was when we began. The things I've mentioned are just the beginning; I have to yet to determine how these events have impacted the way in which I function as a "professional minister."
I know that I am more compassionate, listen better, and care more deeply for others. I have more knowledge about the church, scripture, and theology. However, the most important thing I have learned is that trust in God's unending love, grace, and mercy is what got me through the tough spots on the list above.
The task now, is to blend my life, ministry, and lessons into one paper that ties it up neatly. No small task, but I must persevere.