I have read many a blog post with titles similar to the one I have used here. Often it is used by guilty bloggers, who feel that they have abandoned their faithful readers. Yet, while my writing has been inconsistent and often absent from One/Change over the past year, I do not come here today out of guilt, but instead to share with you what I have been up to lately.
As you know, I went back to school last year to finish up my undergraduate degree. This has been a 6-7 year on again/off again process.? Although this does not hold true for most of my college career, I am pleased to be able to report that this season of my education has been a very positive experience and that, in less than two weeks I will be a college graduate!
In the summer of 2007 Kendall and I took a camping trip to Shi Shi beach just a couple of months before the start of classes. It was then that we talked about how we would integrate school into our lives.? As a married couple we had gone through me being a student before and had quickly come to learn that I did not do a good job setting boundaries. ? We wanted it to look different this time. So, in the peace and calm of that camping trip we talked.
That conversation ended up setting the tone for the year. It was not all smooth sailing, but we had set our course and with gentle reminders, the support of loved ones, and the grace of God we were able to, for the most part, stay the course.
At the beginning of this endeavor I feared that, although I desperately wanted and needed these boundaries, freeing myself from my self-imposed pressures would lead to me becoming an average, un-driven human being. What would become of me if I no longer expected perfection? A sloth? A loser? An idiot with a degree?
I am happy to say that none of the above happened. What did happen is that I had the opportunity to put into practice the very things that I been working on internally for years. The result is that the setting of those boundaries and the subsequent work I did to implement and re-implement them, led to me having my most successful experience thus far.
I am having a hard time figuring out how to write what I want to say next without it coming out sounding like college entrance essay.? But this summer, oh this summer.? It was great.? It makes me want to break out into song everytime I think about it: Summer lovin’ had me a bla-ast, summer lovin’ happen so faaast.? Kendall and I spent my last summer quarter of school studying abraod in Prague.? Thanks in large part to the support and campaigning done on our behalf by Kari Tupper, Kendall and I were able to do it together (despite his being a long-time college graduate that would not officially be part of the program). It was an unusual situation and one that had never been braved before, but it was important to us that we have this experience together or not at all.? This was part of the verbal manifesto we created on Shi Shi, that although we were at different points in our lives we wanted to create shared experiences that strengthed our friendship and marriage.? We wanted to be part of each others individual worlds and we wanted to do this in person, not over e-mail, IM, or phone.? The result of the commitment we made to each other was that we got to experience together what has become the highlight of my formal education.
What stands out to me in all of this is the immeasurable value of the times Kendall and I have taken the opportunity to step out of the chaos.? When without distraction we inevitably end up having conversations in which we evaluate our own lives, as well as, our life together.? As a result we end up reorienting our lives according to what we value and arrive at conclusions that bring us immense freedom from the previously unexamined expectations of life.
There was so much that I learned during this trip that I look forward to sharing with you all here.? In addition, I have had the benefit of taking a few environmental science courses and hope to share with you some of the knowledge I gained through that participation.