I'm just back from the week-end retreat that marks the beginning of my training as a spiritual director. (Not silent, this one!) My class consists of nineteen people, sixteen women and three men, ranging in age from 42 to somewhere in the 70s. Mostly Roman Catholic but also Presbyterian, Lutheran, Southern Baptist, and Episcopalian. From all kinds of business and professional backgrounds, all having spent years in various forms of ministry, all having found their way to the spirituality of Ignatius of Loyola. We had a couple of presentations focusing on Ignatius's story and on an overview of the Spritual Exercises, some quiet alone time, prayer liturgies, a presentation on the nuts-and-bolts of the program, lots of informal conversation time, and Mass this morning with a commissioning of the class that has just finished its two years of training.
It was energizing and exciting to spend two days surrounded by such a diverse group of people, every one of them brimming with the joy found in the Ignatian experience.
And . . .
Before I left the house on Friday afternoon, I tried to clean up some of the accumulated paperwork piles inhabiting the kitchen and dining room and discovered a thin and unobstrusive envelope containing. . . drum roll . . . notification that I have been awarded a Study Grant (i.e., a scholarship) from the national church! So, to those of you who are members of PC(USA) congregations which contribute to our educational funding: THANK YOU!!!! I am delighted to receive both the funding and the vote of confidence it implies from a committee that, beyond my writing and recommendations, has no idea who I am. I am also glad that I did not discover the envelope until it had been here, apparently, a week (!), since it provided me with a needed sense of grounding and balance just as I was preparing to dive into one of my two fall programs.
And . . .
I slipped away from the retreat very early on Saturday morning for a dash to the airport to kiss the Lovely Daughter good-bye. As I hung out with Ignatius and friends, she texted me several times during the day:
Just arrived in Phoenix!
I'm in Portland and so are my bags!
I'm in my dorm room!
And . . .
my father, en route home from a Sierra Club adventure in Montana, spent the week-end in Chicago with one of our sons. He seems to have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Son and Lovely Girlfriend in their adopted city.
I always feel somewhat unsettled by these weeks in which I am keeping track of family members as they move around the globe. I feel a little like a human GPS ~ and now I'm part of the movement, too!