Thursday, July 28, 2005

Sign my guestbook!

Yeah, I forgot: while I'm gone, please do take an opportunity to sign my guestbook and let me know what you think of the site. Since no one has made any comments on the site itself, it would be nice to hear back from people in terms of what I might do to make the site more interesting (stop writing about myself, for starters) or more useful.

Vacation

Howdy!

I'm leaving for two weeks vacation today. Yes, I know I'm LONG overdue for some R&R, so we'll be two weeks in Omena, MI.

I don't know that I'll be able to post, but I'll try to throw something up on the 'net at least once to let you know that I'm alive.

If my calculations are correct, then these next few weeks mark the waning days of summer vacation from school...so, kids, enjoy it while you can!

Cheers!

Ryan

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Fun and Interactive

I was reading while in bed last night (an excellent collection of essays on Karl Rahner, my theological hero) when a thought (and only one) struck me: I should do something interactive on my blog.

Problem: I am technically deficient and if I attempt to tinker any more with my site, I'll probably end up launching a nuclear attack on Ireland or something.

I know there are a number of people who visit this site in order to find information about the Jesuits or, hopefully, about me. Maybe it would be fun if people would post questions in the comments box about Jesuit life, the novitiate, Ignatian Spirituality, etc., that I could answer here on the blog. This site, for instance, is linked to a discernment group for the New Orleans Province of the Society of Jesus; it is conceivable, then, that there are men who surf through here and may have some questions, so I really do encourage them.

Also, remember that I do have a guestbook at the bottom of the page and would LOVE it if more people would sign it...I mean, I totally appreciate the Viagra ad that was posted to it recently, but, and I say this sadly, I've no need for such a wonder drug (that's meant in two ways, hint hint). So please sign!

I'm heading to Omena for vacation on Thursday. I'll probably not have much computer access, but I'll try to post if possible. For those who have been reading this blog for awhile, you'll recall that we last visited Omena in October. I'm pretty excited about these two weeks, partly because I need to go out and buy my swimsuit in thirteen years (I toyed with the idea of a speedo, but realized that it might cause a scandal for onlookers).

So that's the story! I'll poke about for more pictures since I love showing people how interesting our life really is. I think young men discerning a vocation are often put off by the haze of "un-knowing" that surrounds the formation process, and I reckon it's my duty to pierce that haze and allow people to see that we are generally fun, vivacious men who are set on fire to do the Lord's work. It's a wild ride, not an easy ride, but it is fun. So please, do post some questions/comments!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Intrepid we are not!

Howdy!

Well, Drew and I are back a bit early from our pilgrimage.

Yeah, we got a ride back to Detroit.

We're wimps.

In truth, however, I'm glad to say that my father realized his long-harbored dream of 25 years: he got to drop one of his children off in the wilderness and drive off with a clear conscience. Luckily, the dreaded "Lake Bears" surrounding Lake Erie are on summer hiatus so we were quite safe.

Actually, it was very hot and sticky and at 4:40 this morning, when a thunder storm ripped us from our oh-so-sound sleep, we decided that it would probably be a good idea to return to Loyola House via other modes of transportation...somehow, lugging a heavy tent and loaded bags loses its luster and appeal when it's humid and 95 degrees outside.

As you will note, I've posted a number of pictures. Yep, that's hair on my head - I'm still able to grow some and, since I'm mortified at having to put sunscreen on my head when it's shaved (or on my bald spot[s] when it's not) I thought to allow it to grow a bit, kind of like a Chia pet, only mine is truly temporary and brown not green. These are of our trip to Denver and, when I can find them, I'll put one of us rafting up online because those rafting pictures are REALLY cool.

I'm off now to do some reading and possibly watch a movie. Kudos to Mike and Brian who continue to amaze me with their musical abilities - I say this with a modicum of pride and a secret desire to manipulate them into working harder, particularly in light of my public praise! Keep at it guys!

Cheers!

Caught in a rockslide, Ben and I attempt to climb our way to freedom.  Posted by Picasa

Denis runs as I try to explain the finer points of Rahner's transcedental method in Little Rock, AK Posted by Picasa

Using my new-found knowledge of ancient runes, I deciphered markings on the cave walls of Mammoth Cave.  Posted by Picasa

At hot springs Posted by Picasa

We tried to buy these on the way home. The trouble we faced, however, is that we would have had to have sacrificed a novice in order to make room...and, believe it or not, we had a hard time deciding who to leave behind! Posted by Picasa

A picture from our visit to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO.  Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 22, 2005

Pilgrims...and it's not even Thanksgiving

Hey Folks,

I'm back in Cleveland for a retreat this weekend. After the retreat concludes Drew Marquard and I will be driven up to Toledo where we'll camp out in some state park and then begin our walk back to Detroit - it should be a fun-filled two day journey.

Why walk?

It's part of our pilgrimage experiment, a journey of seeking and finding that enables its participants to come to know one another - and the way God is working in the lives of each other - more intimately. While safe to suppose that we'll gawk and marvel at the natural beauty of Toledo/Detroit, be assured that we'll have many spiritual conversations and we attempt to explore ever more deeply our own spiritual journeys - aptly symbolized by this long walk - that have led us both to the Society of Jesus.

Quick Props to Nancy and Loretta for lunch yesterday. It was great to spend time with both of you! And, Nancy, remember to pray...and please pray hard. Readers, if you have special intentions you'd like remembered, you should leave them in the comments box as Nancy seems to have the most amazing "direct line" to God....then again, if I were God, I'd certainly not like to face her wrath so I'd certainly answer any request made of me. I'm sure she'll be somewhat shocked that I would dare mention her prayer power in this public forum, but I think that it should be acknowledged in public that she has truly inspired me to pray in a new and deeper manner. For being a model of one who prays truly and sincerely, Nancy, I salute you!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Quick Update

I write this in the waning days of Jesuit Camp '05 as I stare out on the gorgeous vista of mountains and the lovely Regis University campus. I've had a really great time out here and I'm definitely going to be sad when we depart on Saturday.

There's really not much to report since the Great White Water Rafting Adventure of over a week ago. I did play a feis for Anne Hall this weekend which was a great - albeit hot - two days. It's hard to believe that I used to play 2-day feiseanna pretty frequently "back in my youth" and I assure you that, after almost a full year away from such active playing, I can still feel both days in my back. Soreness aside, it was great being back among "my people" and I feel both more secure in my desire to be a Jesuit (less painful than playing the accordion on the weekends) and more grateful for the opportunity to serve and promote my Irish heritage as a musician.

Just returning from the gym (yes, I still go to the gym. It'd be hard to fathom that my current physical perfection was achieved solely by nature) I'm struck with the great changes I've undergone in just under one year of novitiate: working out, wearing shorts and sandals, going rafting, playing frisbee/softball, running, and now I've the extreme desire to...go swimming! My parents will attest to the fact that I'm something of a hydrophobia these last 13 years or so...it'd be nice to think that I had some near-death experience in the water (like a shark attacking me in Lake Erie) but, I suppose, the real reason that I hated going swimming is because I was a fat kid and was really self-conscious about my physical appearance.

This'll sound strange to some, but it's probably pretty accurate. I recall quite vividly how much I enjoyed swimming and I am ashamed to say that I gave up something that I enjoyed because I allowed the perception of others to shape and contour my own desires and actions. Remarkable this is particularly in light of the fact that the accordion is certainly not the most socially acceptable instrument and that really never deterred me from learning it. Such is a life on inconsistency.

This leads me, though, to question how often I/we/one allows external pressures to look good, play/perform/act well, etc., to prevent them from exploring or engaging in an activity. I don't think I ever hated softball or football, I was more mortified by the fact that I was klutzy and ran funny. My perception of my own reality - as distorted or accurate as it may have been - really erected walls that prevented me from trying new things, from growing in areas of my life that I felt were beyond my reach. It's a testimony to a good and supportive community that one can slowly overcome these barriers only to find oneself free and willing to take new and more exciting risks for personal growth and development.

Next on the list: Tazmanian burlesque or some form of exotic dancing.

Maybe not.

In case you're curious about the confessional tone of today's post, I reckon it's due to the fact that if you're going to take time to read my blog, you may as well get some insight into my life. I don't conceive of my blog as providing an objective view of novitiate/Jesuit life; rather, I see this as an opportunity to share with others my own growth and development. I entered the Jesuits in part to challenge the world and I have found myself challenged more than I could ever have dreamed. It would unfair for me to report nothing but static instances of my day-to-day life without recording the narrative of my journey.

(I include this because I was recently asked why my site was "personal" as though it ought to be boring and removed from my own experience.)

Ok, I'm off to class. I'll not post for another week or so (not until I return from my pilgrimage to CLEVELAND for a retreat with Drew Marquard) and I hope all of you are having a great summer. To Michael and Brian, I EXPECT you to be working on the Mary Bergin CD so that you have some phat sets of tunes to perform. I post this on my site in order that, in addition to my usual nagging, it put pressure on you to spend your summer well by practicing the whistle.

Oh, and at some point I'll post the tale of my mother's car being broken into and my mother chasing the thief down the street demanding her stuff back. When the man threatened to "pull out his pistol" my mother - Atilla the Hon(ey) - mocked him out and, as I can see it in my mind's eye, probably pointed her finger at him, rolled back on her heels, and said, "What Pistol? You don't have a pistol!" (those were here words; her physical gestures are just my conjurings). Leave it to Michele; and yes, she did get most of her stuff back from the man. I wonder, though, why Hagan wasn't around to aide her...perhaps she was reading one of my books???

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Camp

Hi folks,

Despite my best efforts, finding time to update this site has been pretty rough. Jesuit camp can be really busy! I've done many fun things, things so much more fun than building crucifixes out of popsicle sticks or singing church hymns by fireside. For instance, in the last two weeks:

-I did a 10.2 mile hike in Rocky Mountain State Park up to Timber Lake.

-Saw the Olympic Training Center, Air Force Academy, and Indian cave dwellings.

-Played softball.

-Visited the Coors Brewing Company's plant.

-Went white water rafting down the Arkansas River and even went swimming in the river.

-Today I'll drive to the top of Mount Evans.

-Discussed the early history of the Society of Jesus.

-Learned about the Jesuits' missionary efforts.

-Discovered that Tuesday nights are "Free Pint Nights" at the Rock Bottom Brewery, meaning that if you purchase one pint of beer ($3.99) each subsequent pint is but $2.00 (and at that price, who can stop at one?) and at the end of it all, you get a decorative pint glass to take home as a memento!

-And I've met 90-some Jesuit novices from all over the country, which has really been an amazing experience. When you consider what Ignatius originally accomplished with but a fraction of this number, I am heartened and excited for our future.

I'll probably not be able to get any pictures posted until I return to Detroit, but there will be some fun photos, to be sure. I'll also have to post the story of how I was nearly decapitated by an enormous tree branch while rafting down the river. For now, let it suffice to say that we each in our lifetime have one "Matrix Moment" wherein one is able to bend backwards completely in order to avoid oncoming danger. I exhausted my "moment" yesterday while in the raft.