Friday, November 21, 2014

Final Degree, Unfinished

Three true stories:

I was accepted at one of the best small liberal-arts college in America and dropped out after three semesters.

I was offered a chance to work with arguably the best stage director in the English-speaking theatre of the 20th century and declined.

I was accepted to arguably the best MBA program in the world and didn’t go.*

All that happened by the time I turned twenty-five. As I look back over the timeline of my life, it is easy to see a pattern of failure. No wonder my recurringest dream is of being a freshman at that college again, on the first day of classes.

I’ve always wanted a chance to start over. Now I finally have it. Simple reason:

I am a Catholic studying for my final degree. I suspect there will be no more colleges, theaters, or graduate schools in my life as it moves on toward evening. But I am at peace at last. I am a Catholic, and every day is the first day back at school—notebooks new and unmarked, pencils sharpened, lunch in my bag.

To be Catholic is to be embarked on a lifelong learning program. The degree offered is final, and unfinished.

So far (for me) the syllabus has included:

  • Countless books of fiction and non. 
  • Learning about the charism of Communion and Liberation, than which there isn’t a smarter, more studious bunch in all Christendom.
  • Walking the Camino de Santiago with my adult daughter and in company with millions of Christian pilgrims over 1,200 years.
  • Making a Cursillo. 
  • Being offered (and accepting this time) the opportunity to work with a (spiritual) director. 
  • Undertaking the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises under the direction of the Boston Cursillo team of Fr. John Sassani and Mary Ann McLaughlin. 

What's next? Who knows? Doesn't matter. Being a Catholic is like being a kid again—back in school, wondering what sort of sandwich Mom made for me today.

*NOTE: All three anecdotes figure prominently in the memoir I am writing. The college, director, and MBA program were Amherst, Peter Brook, and Harvard, respectively.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you have trouble posting comments, please log in as Anonymous and sign your comment manually.