Matthew’s Update

26 May

Yes, indeed, I have truly skimped on my blogging duties. Not that Jenny really needs any help; she’s certainly more gifted with words than I am. I will try to do my very best to give you a reasonably full explanation of who I am after my first year at Nashotah House.

By saying ‘who I am’ means that I’ve had to come to terms with who I was before I came here and when I first arrived. I had a great deal of ‘heart work’ that needed to be done. Before moving here I managed a $3.5mil department (Lumber and Millwork) at Lowe’s with four full-timers, three part-timers, and a handful of obstinate, lazy sales people. All of the management (not just the low tier but even senior management) was reminded daily that we were replaceable, and buck-passing was rife. Needless to say it was a meat grinder, and I was angry and depressed most of the time. I wasn’t being a good husband, aspirant, or layman. You can also imagine what it’s like to work with construction companies and general contractors. My mouth and my attitude both were ridiculously foul. The last three months of living in Davenport were much better because I quit to work for a moving company, which I loved. I shirked my management duties for a similar-paying workhorse job. While it was much less stressful and my bosses were far more family-oriented, my attitude didn’t exactly get better; it became a more positive, yet equally foul attitude.

Mix this attitude with a new baby, moving, and then being forced into a community whose personality is more diverse than an ACLU advertisement, and I had (what I perceived to be, at least) a trifecta from the deepest pits of Hell. But it wasn’t all that bad, the growing pains.Thankfully this area is not lacking in many facets of spiritual devotion. Aside from the sure guidance and care of professors Father Klukas, Father Holtzen, Dr. Garwood P. Anderson, and the Rev. Dr. Stephen Peay (who I like to discuss Patristics and Eastern Orthodox spirituality with) I’ve been on something of a spiritual excursion in the great state of Wisconsin.

I’ve been meeting with a priest, who is also a family therapist, discussing how to apply family systems not only to my future parish but to my immediate community. I’ve been meeting with the lovely Sister Mary Jude at the Order of Julian House. This woman has been a Godsend to me, largely because, from what I gather, she had her own share of exploits in her teens. I wish I could explain our relationship; she’s very much like a deeply maternal, well, mom. She teaches me so much about myself, recently calling me a ‘one trick pony’ because I lack patience with my classmates. She also listens to Canadian punk rock. I love her… as much as one could love a nun, I suppose. We also had a temporary dean while our current dean was on sabbatical. This temporary dean’s name? It’s The Right Reverend Edward L. Salmon. I could write volumes on the amount of stuff he taught me. The biggest lessons I learned was how to name things for what they are, and to stand up for myself.

In short, all of this journeying in conjunction with my studies and personal reflections has brought about a much different Matthew. I’ve begun to see things much differently, learned to approach situations from different angles. Most importantly I’ve learned how to strive for inner peace, so that I might outwardly glow in Christ, and illuminate those around me. I can’t say I’ll ever reach that ultimate goal, but I’m on my way, and this summer is going to just give me more time to work. This way I might enter my 2nd year of classes with a clear head, clean conscience, and a pure love for my collective family.

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