What? So it's not Friday. Let's agree to overlook this detail.
1) So, I passed my defense and I'm officially done with grad school! As of graduation day, I'll have a Masters of Education in Religious Education with a Concentration in Total Community Catechesis. Or, an MEd in RE with TCC, for short. I'm pretty psyched to be done, and yes, proud that I did this. No one at my high school graduation would ever have imagined I'd end up with this many letters, including myself. I only went to college by the hair on my chinny chin chin. Still, I did a pretty decent job there and here I am today, all mastered up.
2) I'm in a dark night of the soul, and deep. I don't think the word "night" quite covers it, it's been a while and something I've suffered through in varying degrees at different times. At the end of this month I'm heading off on a silent retreat (directed, blessedly, by my own spiritual director, who is both a saint AND an angel) and I have to tell you, the impending silence is a little scary. I imagine I'll have to do a lot of listening for God's voice, and that'll be a change, considering my prayer life with God is more like this, with Dr. Evil as me, and Scott as God:
Still, I know it's time to face up to God and what the heck God wants for and of me. As nervous as I am about the retreat, I also feel like it's an island I'm swimming toward.
3) Meanwhile, our cats are dying. Our oldest, Zarley, is 18 and in renal failure but rebounding nicely, for some unknown reason- my best guess is that she is too... "special..." to die. Zarley's always had issues, but she's a love. Pip, who's 16 or 17 now, is sicker, more suddenly, with renal failure. We know we're in our last months with them, and it's so weirdly shocking to think of life without them. We've been together nearly half my life now, and they've seen me through a lifetime roller coaster of emotions. We want to be good to them and responsible, and we're hoping it'll be a peaceful process and that when the time comes, we'll know what to do. In the meantime, we have an IV bag hanging from the pot rack in our kitchen and a baggy full of needles so that Scott can heroically give Pip fluids subcutaneously every few days. He is my hero and a wonderful kitty-daddy. I know, I know.
4) And meanwhile, I've started training to be a Hospice vigil volunteer. We'll eventually be on call to sit with people in their last hours/minutes, if they don't have anyone to sit with them as they die, or to be there if the family can't be. I'm honored and intrigued to be part of this organization and process. The first week, we heard about the dying process and Hospice's philosophy and mission, and the second week, we heard from a nurse about infectious diseases we might catch. I learned that you should never put your pocketbook down on a soft surface in someone's home, and that you can catch Hepatitis from sushi. Still, I'd rather die from a sushi-related disease than go without it for the rest of my life.
5) In order to be a vigil volunteer, we first have to be direct care volunteers for six months, regularly visiting with people who have less than 6 months to live. Honestly this sounds much more foreboding than being with an actively dying person. How's that for introversion???
6) So now I am on the other side of the volunteering process, and I'm learning a lot about what it's like to be the one volunteering instead of the one looking for volunteers. I really feel called to this volunteer work, for whatever reason. At the first information meeting, they let us know we'd need 9 weeks of training, plus six months of volunteering, plus some more training, and TB testing, and would have to fill out an application and have an interview. There was a minute when I thought "bait and switch!!!" and there have been many minutes when I have thought "I'll see how tonight goes and then decide if I'll go on" but now there's this momentum that is part my wanting to serve, and part my wanting to finish where I started, and partly my wondering what God is calling me to through this.
7) Again, my Lent is a bit of a wash. I had given up rolling my eyes, and have found that as it turns out, I don't roll them all that much. So far, I've not stopped myself from doing it, but I am more aware. I had also given up Bejeweled Blitz, which I'm finding surprisingly hard, and had decided to start walking to daily Mass in the mornings, as I've done in Lents past. But Mass on that first Thursday was too hard for me spiritually, being all DNOTS-ing and all, and my schedule has been crazy. I think the other problem is I'm leading (and reading) a Gospel of Mark BS (that's Bible Study! Come on!) and Mark is all, "the sabbath is for humans, not the other way around" and love over law and all that. Mark always derails my Lents. In all seriousness, I'm doing some serious exploration of the idea of suffering, and what it's about, and that makes it tricky to volunteer for it.
See, now that I'm not in school anymore I can't write enough. Thanks for your patience and good wishes (on Facebook) and all that. And no, I'm pretty sure I won't be going for a PhD. Wouldn't that be a hoot though? Ha!