Another welcome spring morning down here at my caffeinated beach front view. I don’t have much of an agenda after having just finished a required posting along the way of my perpetual quest for higher learning. I’m at about the 2/3 mark towards completion of a degree and it seems as if I’m once again at the “push through” point. It’s the place where you finally step off momentarily to consider the costs, financial, emotional, and physical, and weigh them against the “imagined” outcome of having this paper in hand. I’ve been in this place before. It’s when the question “What in God’s name am I trying to accomplish here?” comes front and center. I am too far from the origin of this journey to clearly remember what I was trying to accomplish, so it’s time to just put my head down and push for the finish. Maybe if I just fall forward, the forward progress will carry me across the line.
This time around I’m 16 years older and not sure of the reserves that I know I’ll need for the rest of this quest so I’m trying to dig deep and remember what this is really all about. And I will tell you that it’s not all that helpful when you are in the midst of a grouping of classes that you are having a hard time engaging in…. the ones you have to take as opposed to the ones you want to take. Anyway… I can honestly say it’s not about money, unless by that you mean paying out lots of it. Some get advanced degrees with pay raises in mind. That doesn’t necessarily work in my realm of pastoral artist. It doesn’t matter how many papers in handsome leather bound folder frame things that I have. People are really only interested in my charming personality and selfless demeanor…. And did I mention the humble servant part…. whatever. I can honestly say that it’s not about a greater level of respect. Most will never know that I have this degree when it’s done. That’s because of the “humble servant” part.
I used to think that it would bring a greater competency to my role as pastoral artist. That is the what the voice in my head kept telling me as I was filling out the applications and buying the first round of books. I really don’t know if that is true or not. Some have told me that they notice a difference in some of what I do but I’m not really sure if it’s the schooling of the past two years or the “schooling” that I’ve gotten over the 20 years in this profession. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of benefits along the way. I have gotten connected and established friendships with people from across the country that I never would have enjoyed. I am learning some invaluable stuff from some invaluable people. I get to spend a decent amount of time in a very cool place called Portland. And then there are always the books… I’m a book junkie and this only validates my insatiable buying of books and my membership at Barnes and Noble. It just may be that this, like many undertakings in life, is more about the process than the outcome. If I’ve learned one thing it is this; Enjoy the journey. I’ve always been an outcomes based individual when all along the way God is trying to teach me to enjoy the process. I may get nothing ultimately out of the end product, but I can surely enjoy the journey.