Greetings fellow Network of Love Lovers!
I find myself in the middle of my spring break, in an area totally new and totally exciting for me. I am spending my last day in the Boston area, staying with a friend in a suburb named Scituate, a little south of the actual city. Yesterday, I went to Boston University to talk to some professors regarding a masters program that is of some interest to me. It is a one year intensive study in African American Studies that I have yet to propose to the Milwaukee Archdiocese, but am considering applying to and seeing what the diocese would say about the possibility of me spending a year studying in such a program. Only time will tell.
Anyways...my reflection is about my journey to Brookline, MA, to Boston University.
On the commuter rail toward the city (my friend Agnes had dropped me off and given me some great directions---but I'm bad with directions, so I was still a little uncertain as to how I was actually going to get to Boston U. And then, along comes Reverend Robert. An older man wearing a black full length coat, black trousers and black shoes and wearing a knit cap. He looked very English. I didn't actually know this man was a priest until I went up to him and asked for directions on how to get to Boston U. He was so very friendly, calm and friendly, and then I noticed he was wearing a clergy collar. Huh, I thought to myself. How interesting!
I find out, sitting next to him on the train, that he has been an Episcopal priest for 43 years and that his wife, who recently passed away, had also been a priest! Robert and I had much in common (besides sharing the same first name). We talked about many things, especially church related stuff. I was able to discuss seminary life with a person who has had a similar experience. It turns out that midway through Robert's first year, he had made a telephone cal home telling his mother he didn't think this whole seminary thing was for him. The wised words of a parent convinced him to at least stick it out for the rest of the year. He stayed for much longer of course.
We talked about his career, about where he has served (mainly around the Washington D.C. and Boston area), about his family (he has a daugther), and his brother, like his father was, is also a priest! We talked about the state of the church, briefly about Vatican II, about popes, about his time spent at Boston U. He shared a touching account of how he completed his wife's doctoral paper after she passed away and it was a rather rewarding experience for him that, I'm assuming brought a kind of peace and acceptance of the mourning that comes with losing someone so very near and dear.
I shared with Rev. Robert a little bit about my experience in El Salvador last may, and my upcoming return trip to El Salvador, scheduled for this May. I also shared a bit about my plans to see England and France this summer.
It was a very rewarding talk, to say the least, and I am blessed to have met the reverend and to, above all, have made another friend. His faith and life story were really inspiring to hear about and process, and his guidance (in the immediate future---about how to actually GET to Boston University via the subway) was incredibly helpful. But, his support, his encouragement, his words of wisdom and his presence also brought me a sense of hope for my own future discernment, my future as a seminarian and as a human person. I am happy to share my Christian faith with a friend like the Rev. Robert. May God bless him and continue to work through him.
peace to all of you! Hope you're able to successfully leap over the hump of Wednesday and look ahead to the coming weekend and coming (hopefully) warm weather!
your friend bob : )