Saturday, May 30, 2015

What Has Tom Been Up to Lately? Or, We've Missed You on the Blogosphere


I've not been writing for a while. And while I think it's understandable, given everything that's been going on lately, I still would like to share a little of the why I've not been writing for the past month.

If you've visited my blog before, you know that I work at a charter high school in Minnesota. And while I love that work, sometimes the requirements and deadlines of charter school life mean that those responsibilities come before my writing. I love writing. Sometimes I think about how I could write full-time. But that's not my reality right now, so I need to think about what I need to do to pay the bills.

And frankly, over the past month, I've had a great opportunity at school. See, I'm part-time faculty at school, which means that I'm not at the school every day. But another of my part-time colleagues went on maternity leave at the end of March and I was asked to cover for her for the end of the semester. I jumped at the opportunity, since it gave me an excuse to be at the school every day and I got to work with some of the juniors who I had had in class two years ago as freshmen. I jumped in with both feet, but that also meant that I had less time for other things in my life. Like writing.

Writing is definitely a piece of self-care in my life. And the way I do it, it's a chance to reflect on sacred texts and ask how they apply to what's going on with me and what's going on in the world around me. It's meditative and therapeutic. But another self-care piece in my life is physical exercise. And over the past month, in order to deal with the stress of suddenly having a double workload at school, I have given priority to my exercise than to my writing. It was a choice I made based on the challenges I've had in my life. In fact, if I had to choose again, I would do the same thing again. But now I'm headed into the last week of the school year and I feel like I have the time and energy to do more self-reflection. So I'm back on my blog. And it feels great!

Now, that's not all that's been going on over the past month that has been keeping me from writing. If you've visited my blog before, you will probably know that I am a postulant to the diaconate in the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. Back in September I enrolled in formation classes and then in January, I took a pause on my formation classes. They were more demanding than what I expected, so I was given the opportunity by my bishop to go back into some discernment to figure out what's going on.

That whole process has also been taking up a lot of my attention this spring as well. I've been finding that, as a 26 year old man just married (it will be two years this week!) and just starting out his career, sorting out priorities is a process. It's not a snap for me (though I don't know whether it's ever a snap for anybody). Having been given the opportunity to go back into a phase of discernment has been a blessing because it also allows me to process through what I experienced in the formation courses. Why were they more demanding than I expected? Why was I caught by surprise? What else in my life experience could have informed my reaction to the unexpected challenges of formation? It's not that I have any definite answers to that yet, but I am grateful for the accommodation to explore those questions while everything else has been so busy in my life.

So part of what I wanted to entertain in this post today is this question: where do I go from here? The school year is almost over, so I won't need to be working with students every day. Although I need to be revising curriculum and selecting a new novel to use with the 9th graders and I also need to submit paperwork to renew my license. I have this process of discernment in from of me, which is of course happening at a time when the Episcopal Church is meeting in Salt Lake City for our triennial government meeting (the 78th General Convention, for those of you who know the jargon). As I contemplate which direction I want to go with my vocation, the Church that I belong to also has an opportunity to talk and caucus and discern which direction we're going to go in the next three years. It's all exciting and nerve-wracking. But it's life, right? This is the work that been given for us to do, isn't it?

One more thing before I sign off from this post. At the beginning of the calendar year, I said in one post that I wanted to explore more of the resurrection experiences in my life. I've not felt like I've done that justice of the past 5 months. But I'm hoping that over the summer I will be able to contemplate more of those things and write about how I'm living in the light of the Risen Christ with those around me. I'm thinking that I want to do that by reflecting on movies and other art that depict resurrection, but I have to admit that there should be plenty in my life that is also reflecting the light of the Risen Christ, too. I'm living on the cusp of new beginnings. I think that, by definition, there has to be some sort of resurrection in that.

I took this picture as I was leaving school after a long day of work... the blossoming trees seemed so much like new life that I couldn't help but share them... on my other twitter account, naturally. 
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What's your resurrection story? Do you have more than one? Are there any good movies with stories of resurrection that I should watch? Please share one or many in the comments below. Otherwise, you can join with me in conversation on Twitter or Facebook! Additionally, you can subscribe to my blog by email with the subscription bar in the navigation menu on the right-hand side of this page, and/or send me a friend request/follow me to make that social connection and participate in a deeper dialogue that way. Thanks!