Thursday, July 31, 2008

A True Character


Every now and again, one has the great fortune to meet a true character. This summer, Jake Martin and I had the great fortune to make the acquaintance of one Sister Mary Eliza Martin, CSC. Without a doubt, Sister Mary Eliza brought more smiles and laughter to these two Jesuits than anyone else at Mercy Center.

She'll probably kill me for posting this, but I think it's a great picture!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Catholic Touch

I'd like to solicit opinions on a program I'm planning on offering this semester for the Curran Center for American Catholic Studies. Please peruse the document below and feel free to offer criticisms/suggestions.

The Catholic Touch


Over the past two years, the Curran Center has generously sponsored several initiatives aimed at encouraging students to engage more fully the Catholic faith and tradition. We have ranged from “Three Cheers for Catholicism” intended to address topics relevant to contemporary Catholicism (the Regensburg address, the Eucharist, the liturgy) to “Gospel Explorations” to “Faces of Catholicism” to “Faith in Motion.” Each program met with varying degrees of success, to be sure, but prayer and reflection on the fruits of these programs leads me to propose The Catholic Touch for Fall 2008.

Let me begin with an observation. It is often noted that there has been an upsurge in interest in traditional forms of Catholic piety. The Rosary, Stations of the Cross, and Adoration appear to exercise a draw for many students. This has been viewed with suspicion by many as a ‘nostalgia for a Church they never knew’ and a return to a rigid form of Catholicism may see as having been jettisoned in the post-Vatican II era.

My question is this: could it be that, in an era where we are bombarded with sensory stimuli, that these traditional forms of prayer could actually work as an entrée into, rather than the end of, the prayer lives of students? Think about it: video games come equipped with vibrating handles, the Nintendo Wii now has an apparatus that allows you to exercise while playing games, and the market for products such as Axe body spray and other ‘scents’ is booming. This should come as no surprise to anyone: if we peer back into the tradition, even Saint Thomas Aquinas emphasized that the basic tenet of human epistemology is that knowing begins through sense experience. Many of us take for granted what these students have never experienced: the clicking of rosary beads, the smell of incense, kneeling during the mass, holy water, novenas, processions, May Crowning, etc.. Long before the technological label of ‘interactive’ the Catholic tradition engaged the entirety of the human person in the practice of faith.

What I would like to do in The Catholic Touch is to begin to play with what, for lack of a better term, I would call tactile theology. The basic gist of the program is this: I want to help integrate effective catechesis with affective engagement with the sensory stimulation that is so much a part of the Church’s heritage. We will alternate weeks, one week working through a section of Herbert McCabe’s short Catechism and then, on the other week, hosting a meeting with an invited guest. Sensitive to the demands already placed on students, I envisage asking no more than for ten relatively easy pages each week, drawing on other source material in the hopes of giving students varying perspectives and drawing them deeper into the tradition. This alternating approach, I hope, will allow the students an opportunity to see that the what of Catholicism has an effect upon the how of their lives. Basically, I want to demonstrate that the Catholic faith is incarnated in myriad ways.

The telos of this endeavor picks up Robert Barron’s insight in his And Now I See where he observes that Christianity is a way of seeing. As the students acquire the nuts-and-bolts underpinnings of what Catholicism is, we are going to offer them opportunities to have this newly acquired ‘way of seeing’ to be put into practice. This orthopraxis can occur in:

1. As a group attending Adoration, but reflecting on how/why we are doing it and how this encounter can lead toward a deeper service of Christ. This may provide some students with a first entrée into a powerful devotional practice while, for those accustomed to praying in this manner, giving further opportunity to reflect on how this style of prayer speaks to the heart and calls us into acts of loving service as a response to Christ's invitation.
2. Watching three films together that draw on themes present in Catholic theology. This might train students to be attentive to the subtext and implicit messages contained in various media. A movie such as Babette’s Feast is a tried and true option, but I suspect other, more contemporary, films can be found to achieve this purpose.
3. Celebrating the Eucharist together at well-done liturgies – St. Ignatius, for instance – where a great deal of stress is placed on ritual and sensory experience.
4. Begin each meeting with 10 minutes of prayer centering us on the reason we are gathered together: Christ’s invitation to discipleship.
5. An introduction to the Rosary as a powerful means of entering into prayer. This could be coupled with an opportunity to pray the Stations of the Cross – again, engaging them on a physical level.
6. A dedicated session on discernment.
7. An exercise in communal discernment as we discern some type of day-of-service that we can offer as a response to the call of discipleship.

My model is the “Faith that does Justice.” My hope is to facilitate an encounter with Christ that leads these students into loving, Christ-centered service. This encounter can be structured by the catechesis but is only fully enabled through various spiritual practices. Rather than allowing any practice (Adoration or the Rosary, for instance) to be co-opted by one ideology, I want to provide space where any part of the Church’s heritage can become a locus for an encounter with Christ, a site of engagement where they may meet Christ and responds by saying “Here I am, Lord. How can I do your will?”

Praising God In Another Language






Last night, I had the great honor of participating in an African liturgy. Indeed, I was impressed into service as the drummer.

Yep, the drummer.

My parents dashed my childhood dream of being a rock-star drummer when they bought me an accordion. Motely Crue with an accordion? Nahhhhh

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Watch and Pray

In the com-box yesterday Laura left the following message:

When I started reading this post, I started saying to myself, "That's me! Hooray! Now I'm going to get some help with my lack lustre prayer. While I think that your recommendation is beautiful and practical for a certain set, I would be interested to know how to achieve the same kind of prayer experience- without imagery. For some reason, I can't even imagine myself brushing my teeth, let alone in the amazing interior of myself. I'm one of those people who thinks in words, not pictures. I can talk, and experience silence, but in my private prayer, I find it hard to experience communion, if you know what I mean.

Suggestions?

Laura, let me begin by thanking you for your comment. I don't know that I'll be able to offer much by way of suggestion, but please allow me to try.

Let me begin, again, with a Taize chant.

"Stay with me, remain here with me, watch and pray"

Let us not draw too heavily on image but, rather, on silence in unpacking their relevance for prayer.

With these words, Jesus asks his disciples to be present to him in prayer just prior to his execution. We know only too well that in the Garden of Gethsemane, his disciples weren't quite able to stay awake during their prayer (let us all find some comfort in this!). As Jesus sweat blood, they nodded off...as he cried out to the Father to take this cup from his lips, they slumbered.

"Remain here with me." Like so many of us, Jesus did not want to be alone. He turned to his friends for their love and support, he counted on their prayers and their presence to be a strength in this chaos.

Do you remember ever having a night-light as a child? That light pierced the darkness, assuring you that the world had only been shrouded in darkness temporarily; it had not, as your senses might have had you believe, been transformed. That light was a presence to you in dark times, perhaps helping you on your way to realizing that usually there is nothing to fear in the darkness. But for a child, for one so vulnerable, the light recalls that we are not alone.

The invitation to "Watch and Pray" is something of this dynamic: to be a night-light for another in dark times. The invitation Jesus issued asks for love and support and quiet presence, it expresses the desire of the human heart not to be alone. Now I know Laura is pulling at her hair, saying, "Ryan, you idiot!! More images!" So let me depart from the image to something a bit less concrete.

Laura, the intimacy of prayer that you seek may already be before you. When I pray with images, it is but a means to an end. The end is silent, abiding presence with God. The images I begin my prayer with slowly dissolve as I fall ever more deeply in love with the God who loves me and creates me. I am slow to pray so often, so it takes me a long time to fall into this abyss of silent presence, where I am fully open to the silent and incomprehensible mystery of the Holy One.

From the way you describe it, perhaps yours is a dark grace. It is to penetrate far beyond images and enter into silent nearness to the One who seems to be so far away. The communion you seek isn't experienced in immediate sensation but in the insatiable longing to know and to love. Your prayer may well be the grace to be called to be present to Jesus in the Garden, to "watch and pray" to "remain with me" while Jesus prays. It is a silent prayer, one that seems to go nowhere, but one that joins your heart with the agonized heart of Christ. Your heart, in this prayer, beats in concord with the heart that, in a few short hours, will be penetrated by the tip of a spear.

I do not mean to offer advice, but perhaps your own prayer could be, "Lord, watch and pray with me." Make Jesus's own prayer your prayer...we do this quite easily with the Our Father, so I see no reason why you can't do it with this prayer of presence. As you pray, commend yourself to the divine silence that seems to crush in around you. Do not fear that you are alone, because you are called to pray and it is God's Spirit that is praying within you.

And as you pray, you will feel that your words are falling dead to the earth, that they reach nowhere, let alone the ear of God. You will open up the depths of your heart, you will speak your heart's longing, and it will seem as though no one is listening, it will seem that you are alone. It will be as though the darkness will greedily snatch up everything you say and consume it, leaving no trace of you or your prayer to remain. This darkness, it will seem, threatens to suffocate you, to extinguish that little flame that continues to burn in hopes of being heard by the Almighty-yet-apparently-distant One. The silence will taunt you to doubt: "You don't really believe that HE hears you, do you? It's all a waste. You're wasting your time." (Oh, in today's culture, is there any worse thing to accuse someone of?) Your spirit will feel as though it is failing and that you're ready to give up.

If this is to be your experience - one I do not wish for anyone, although all of us must go through it - know that you are not alone. Know, indeed, that you are in communion with one whose prayer was exactly this: Jesus. The dark grace is that you are being called into communion, but it is the communion found by a disciple called and willing to pray in the Garden. Both of you are silently present to each other. Truly, it seems as though you are miles apart, as though you are separated by an unbridgeable gulf. But your hearts are one, for you have stayed with one another. If you stay with your prayer, if you stay in the darkness, if you realize the folly and the faith of authentically praying "Thy will be done" then, I promise you, you have found communion.

Folly and faith. That is the prayer of Gethsemane, that is the prayer of the Cross. It will seem to much of the world - and even to ourselves - that our prayer is foolish. As everything crashes in upon us, as our lives are choked from us by oppressive forces and doubt, to continue praying "They will be done" is a fool's prayer. It is, however, the prayer of faith. It is the prayer inspired by the cross. The prayer offered by two hands affixed to a beam of wood. The prayer of a man abandoned by his friends, betrayed by his people, executed for being fully human, for being the loving presence of God in a sinful, rejecting world.

But in a twist of irony, it is the prayer of faith.

"Thy will be done" is the prayer of faith. It is a prayer born of the assurance of the resurrection, that the maniacal and satanic forces of this world do not have the last word in God's creation. It is the prayer born of realizing that love does conquer all, that death is not the final answer to the question of our human nature.

Laura, I'm afraid that I've gone very far afield of my original goal, which was to offer some words to help you in your prayer. So let me conclude by saying that I encourage you to continue entering into the empty silence that you are experiencing. God is there in the silence, because it is God who is calling you to pray. In each act of prayer, it is not as though you are calling upon God's attention; rather, prayer is your making yourself present to God's call to you, present to God's call within you. Be present, "Watch and Pray." Stay there in the silence and know that the Holy One is there with you. The intimacy you seek is, perhaps, not the intimacy being offered. Perhaps your grace, your dark grace, is to be present to Jesus in the Garden. Be present, "remain here with me." Let your heart be filled with love and silence, doubt and faith.

Perhaps all of us can be so folly and to have such faith as to listen to Jesus' invitation to:

"Stay with me"

"Remain here with me"

"Watch and pray"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Remember Me

I went last night to a Taize prayer service held here at Mercy Center. Leading us in prayer was the venerable Sister Suzanne Toolan, RSM (Religious Sister of Mercy) perhaps known best for the composition of the hymn "I am the Bread of Life." Sister is one of the gentlest, most prayerful souls I have ever encountered. She's also fairly blunt: after impressing me an Jake Martin into service to move a cross, she informed us that "we were not brats" like two other Jesuit scholastics who had been enrolled in the program a few years ago. Knowing that Sister does not consider me "a brat" counts, in my book, as high praise!

Our prayer began last night in the darkness of the chapel. A lone overhead light illuminated the crucifix while several small candles cast their light from the altar. There were quite a few people present: young and old, many of us interns, many of our directees.

The first song we sang may be familiar to you: "Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom." These are the words of the Good Theif who, in a moment of clarity and repentance, acknowledges his own wrongdoing while also acknowledging Jesus to be the Savior. This thief resigns himself to his fate - death - and yet asks Jesus that he at least be remembered.

The chant involves but one line: "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." As we sang them last night, the words seemed to hang in the hair, dissolving slowly into the half-light surrounding the altar. Again and again, we chanted these words and, as we did so, I felt myself moved more and more to both sorrow and great joy.

Let me tip my narrative hand: I was always among the last picked for sports teams in gym class. When the teacher chose two captains who happened also to be good athletes, it was easy to resign myself to the fate of being among the last three chosen. I mean it does make sense: the object is, of course, to win and, in order to win, one must assemble a good team. I did not have any particular athletic aptitude or interest, so it was no surprise that I was among the last picked.

But when it was a friend that was chosen to be the captain, that it was most awful. You had the sense that, in a perfect world, you'd be among the first chosen. But being chosen last, when it's done by your friend, is especially tough: friendship gets subordinated to the logic of victory.

I think the worst part of it was overhearing the already-chosen people make (un)helpful suggestions to the captain: "Pick him, at least he can hit." "Pick her, we can put her in the outfield" "No, no! Pick him because he's not that bad." You get the gist.

And then, if you weren't the absolute LAST person picked, you felt like you had to prove yourself even more - to justify your not having been picked dead last, demonstrating that you weren't wholly the detritus of the gym class. On a graced day, you'd make a great play; but, if you happened to be on the losing team, the recriminations were dire. Changing back into your uniforms, words like "dork" "wimp" "loser" "fag" "idiot" would be whispered of the losing team's scapegoat...whoever it happened to be.

"Remember me." Lord, although I don't think I'm good enough to play on your team, I recognize now that you are the captain on whose team I would most like to play. "Remember me." Lord, you are the conductor in whose symphony I now wish I was good enough to belong, but I know that I play imperfectly. "Remember me." Lord, I know that I am not worthy to join you at dinner, but please do not forget me.

"Remember me." I'll be out here, waiting, if you should need me.

"Remember me." If something happens, I'd be glad to fill in. I know you probably don't need me, but I'll be here anyway.

"Remember me." Please, just remember me.

And those words hang in the air. They dissolve into the anxious silence that separates us from one another.

Breaking the silence, the words that we could not have hoped to hear fill the abyss:

"Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Amen, Truly, I want you to be on my team. Amen, I want you to be in my band. Amen, I want you to eat with me.

Amen, I want you. Amen, I welcome you. Amen, it is you - all of you, your entire imperfect yet blessed self - that I want as a friend.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

I think this is the great logic of the Gospel: that it does not comport itself to the logic of humankind. To be sure, we do need logical structures and rules that dictate the way the game is played, the ways the law operates. But within the Christian life, this makes sense only in light of the original invitation of Christ to join him. It is not the case that Jesus has forgotten us: we are invited at every moment of every day, most especially through the Eucharist, to be with him.

Last prayer triggered in me feelings I thought I'd forgotten, feelings I thought I'd conquered. But as they crept back, I didn't recoil from them. Rather, I accepted them as an important part of my own story. I do know something of rejection and ridicule, of falling prey to thinking that the order in which I was picked dictated my relative worth as a person.

Nevertheless, the disparity between the selection of Gym Class and the Kingdom could not be more stark. In the gym class, desire matters so little. Are you good enough? Strong enough? Fast enough? Good. I choose you.

In the Kingdom, it is the opposite! Are you weak enough to know that I am the true source of strength? Are you frail enough to allow me to carry you? Are you broken enough to know that I am the healer of all? Are you humble enough to allow yourself to be chosen, rather than having to be the one who chooses? Are you possessed of the desire to feast with me and my friends - all of whom, by the way, were also the last-picked on the world's teams?

This is the team you desire to be on?

That's great. I also desire that you be on this team.

I choose you.

Remember this, that I have chosen you. Long before you took the notion to cry out to me, I had chosen you. I've just been waiting for you to get around to asking to play.

Welcome. So, what are you waiting for? We've got a game to play...and you're starting.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

On Prayer

The human heart is, as Saint Augustine put it so eloquently, "restless." Perhaps this is nowhere more obvious than when we take the time out to pray. You may have a similar experience to this: you feel this urge, this complete draw, to settle yourself and to be at one with God. Taking advantage of momentary quiet in the house, you settle into your comfy chair, close your eyes, and begin to pray.

"Hello God!" you cry out.

-silence-

"Well, I'm here. How're things? It's good to spend time with you. Yep, I'm praying"

-silence -

"Yep, still praying. Oh, do you remember when I mentioned Mr. So-and-So last time? Well, he's better now. And if if you have a moment, could you please do something with Mrs. Whatsit - she's not been feeling well. And my son - Timmy, the short one - well, he needs a job."

-silence -

"Jeez! The television is really dusty. Do you mind if I dust that? I'll be right back." (so you run off to dust the tv, then you notice that the floor could stand to be vacuumed, the windows washed, and the fireplace cleaned out)

"I'll BRB (tech-talk for be right back) God," you say as you busy yourself with myriad tasks, "I just need to get to this before I can pray"

-silence-

Now if this is anything at all like your experience (and believe me, it's certainly been mine), don't feel too terribly bad: you're human! I reckon it is our natural state to be busy about the things around us. And yet, if this resonates with you, you may also share in my own frustration at saying, "Lord, why does prayer have to be so difficult!"

Praying seems like it should be very easy to do. Buy a comfy cushion (if you're Zen-trendy) or plop yourself into a good chair, light a candle, and be whisked away into mystical euphoria. Sounds good if you're "Kung Fu: the Legend Continues" but doesn't much speak to our day-to-day reality. We feel called to pray, we know that we should, but we so often fumble about and cry out, "Lord, teach us to pray!"

If I may be so bold, please allow me to suggest an image that I have found helpful these last few years. I share this now simply because, as I direct retreats, I'm only too aware of how difficult it can be to settle into prayer.


Imagine your heart to be a little cottage in the very depths of your soul. It's log-hewn walls have weathered many storms, it's sloping roof has sheltered you from snow and rain and the blistering sun. Warm in the winter, cool in the summer, it is your innermost place of refuge.

Enter your cottage and look about. On shelves and in every corner their rests mementos and memories from your life: pictures, records, albums. It pays to do a total inventory every now and again (in today's language, we call this going to the therapist. I'd call it being particularly self-aware) in order to take stock of what needs to go where, what can be thrown out, what is broken, what should be featured on the mantlepiece, and what things you've been clinging to that seem to have no purpose. Go under the beds and drag out some of those old resentments and hurts, too. They smell like your son's gym shoes and they take up space!

Now as you go about this process, wander into the kitchen. The center of the cottage, see how cozy and welcoming it really is. Since you are going to pray, since you have every intention of inviting the Holy One over for a spell, why don't you put the kettle on and arrange a plate of cookies? It's only polite to show hospitality. Especially to your creator.

Settle into your favorite arm chair and wait for the kettle to boil. Wait for your guest to arrive. As you do so, consider how good it will be to see your old friend again. What have you been wanting to share? What burdens are oppressing you? What joy do you want to offer to the Holy Other who is always willing to lend a helping hand or to give a high-five? Are you nervous about something? Mystified? Grateful? Resentful? These are all topics of conversation that might be worthwhile pursuing.

Now start looking at your watch. Yep, late. Close your eyes: you've been working hard, getting things in order. You've labored to straighten up the cottage: dusting, cleaning, washing, cooking. Certainly not everything is in order - is it ever? - but it's the best you can do right now. Just rest in your chair and wait for your guest to arrive. You tap your fingers impatiently. You fidget. You check the stove - you already know it's off, but you want to be sure. You pace. You look out the window. You sit down again. You begin to think that you got the date wrong. But can you recall ever setting a date and then being stood up?

Then, just as the kettle begins to sing in the kitchen, you look around again. Your friend has arrived; having snuck in the back door when you weren't looking, you now realize that God has been in the room the whole time - watching as your busied yourself to make space for your little get together. God has listened as you sang your songs as you cleaned, watched you lovingly as you tidied up. At no point have you been alone. All your business tired you out enough to be still so that you might know that the Lord has been there all along.

Feel the joy of your friend's company. Share those things that you have been holding. And be present. Your guest is sometimes an introvert, sometimes very shy, and doesn't speak too quickly. God spends so much time listening to people prattle on and on that there's not much chance to get a word in edgewise. So don't be disappointed if you don't 'hear' something too quickly. Just listen. Be still and listen.

Soon the kids will come home. You'll hear them coming up the way. You'll have to go, you tell your friend, but you promise to do this again very soon. "Thank you," you say, "I'm so glad we got together."

"You're welcome," comes the reply. "I'll be here whenver you're ready."

And as the children come up the path, as the boss phones, as the baby cries, or as the students amble back into the room, you take your leave. You wave goodbye and realize for a fleeting moment that your friend actually lives in your cottage. But it's easy to forget our boarders when the world rushes in upon us.

So as your prayer ends, return to your daily life. But can you return the same way? Do you not bear something of a trace of the experience, a lingering sense of having been with your beloved friend? Make, then, that resolve to return again and again and again. Your friend is in there, waiting, watching, and loving you. Inviting you to return for a cup of tea and a plate of cookies. Awaiting you with open arms to embrace you and welcome you home.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Prayer Request

Hello all!

I'd ask your prayers this week for those participating in the Mercy Center's Summer Home Retreat. I have three directees whom I shall meet with once per day for the next five days. This is a great opportunity to accompany another person as a spiritual director for a week of prayer, reflection, and discernment.

So I'd ask that you keep them (and me - this is my first time in this role) in your prayers. Be assured that I'll keep all of you in mine.

Monday, July 14, 2008

What I do on the weekends


I'm usually pretty terrible about remembering to bring my camera to events. This weekend, however, I did remember to bring it along to the Colorado Irish Festival and Feis. So here's the group from this weekend, moving from left to right:
  • Sally Houston
  • Laura O'Sullivan
  • Anne Hall
  • Eddie Murphy
  • Ryan Duns
  • Shawn Bollig
This picture was taken after the second day of the feis. An outdoor event, you'll notice that I have a little more color than usual. I keep trying to assure myself that I'm "building a base" but I realize that I'll pretty much go from red back to pasty white by the end of the week.

The weekend was really a lot of fun. It's so refreshing to be with people with whom you share a common love and passion.

I didn't get a clear picture of it, but I would like to mention a little bit about the physical setting of this year's feis.

The festival is held in Littleton, Colorado. Indeed, it is held very near to Columbine High School. The memorial commemorating the lives lost that fateful day is also on the grounds.

From where I sat facing the stage, I looked past the Irish dancers and onto the memorial. It served as a sobering reminder of the preciousness of human life and the terrible violence we are capable of inflicting on one another. It seemed a strange juxtaposition: young people dancing and celebrating life in the presence of a memorial for those whose lives were cut short by anger and rage. I don't know that many of the dancers realized where they were, but it touched me deeply. I prayed often over the course of the two days for peace for the victims, the perpetrators, and their families.

Our world is filled with memorials. Some are things to be visited, others are passed along in stories and song. Irish dancing, understood rightly, is a memorial: it embodies the giving-over of oneself to the music of a country, it recalls in the life and body of the dancer the joy and power of a people, it connects the dancing masters of Ireland to today's competitors. We go astray when we forget this, when we focus only on the "now" and forget that we have inherited great riches from those who have come before us.

The dark grace of the Columbine memorial is that it, too, reminds us of our inheritance. We have inherited a history of bloodshed and violence, as well as reconciliation and healing. As Irish dancing suffers when it is divorced from its history, likewise do we trivialize the lives and losses commemorated when we treat memorials as "things to see" rather than sites where profound happenings have taken place. It would make me sad to think of people who "strolled through" the Columbine memorial as though it were a garden. It is a place, a destination, calling for us to stand in awe and silence, a place that penetrates deep into the human heart with the awareness of what humankind is capable of doing. One ought to leave such a site not with a "wow, that was cool" but, rather, with a pierced heart and an emboldened determination that this never happen again.



Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Center of Mercy

I arrived on Sunday evening here at the Mercy Center in beautiful Burlingame, California. For the next month, I will be an intern in the Spiritual Direction program.

As this is only the second full day, I don't have TOO much to say. There are issues of confidentiality at play, so I cannot divulge the content of what is said nor do I feel it my place to speak much of my fellow interns. What I can do is write about my own interior movements as they come along. And, since I have wireless access from my bedroom, I suspect that I'll be able to do this without tremendous strain.

I'm off now to morning prayer and then our small-group discussion. There is a great deal of attention to group process and to allowing what is taught, shared, and experienced to 'settle into the marrow of one's bones'. I'm excited for what is in store for me over the next few weeks and I look forward to sharing parts of my own journey with all of you!

___________

In other news:

I'll be playing the Colorado United Irish Societies Feis this weekend in Denver. I leave Friday evening and get back late on Sunday night. It's another outdoor feis, so I suspect that I will return sunburned, dusty, and smelling like death. I hope my accordion doesn't mind my odor!

I have some pictures I took from my weekend at Ben Lomond, a villa house of the Santa Clara University community. If I get a chance tonight, I'll try to post those on here. They're already on my Facebook page, but I'll cross-post as soon as possible.

Cheers!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Back in SFO

I've now returned to San Francisco. My return to California was wholly uneventful and I managed to read Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray on the way home. 

This week is the lead-up to my time in Burlingame. I'm excited to begin the program: I'm one of 38 interns this summer, so it should be a large and diverse group of people to be with.

Until then, I'll probably continue to people watch. This city is amazing for its diversity and the strange cast of characters who wander about. If I can get some pictures, I might have to post them!

The Final Chapter?

At 3:34 this afternoon, I saved a completed draft of the fifth and final chapter of my dissertation. I semi-knew yesterday that I was neari...