Friday, September 21, 2007

Sometimes God sends a dream

One of my readers asked for stories about campus ministry. It's been hard work, primarily because I started with no existing student group -- no, not one! The previous chaplain had not been able to function for some time (about three years, according to most sources), for some very valid personal reasons. But I came on board to build up a program from dust.

Apparently I was discouraged when I went to sleep. We now have a steady group of students who come to church each week, but the group at present numbers 5 or 6. Three of them are music majors and play in the demanding university orchestra. At our campus ministry committee meeting last night I asked my committee to join me in showing up where the students do their work. So, for instance, two of them committed to attend the first orchestra concert of the fall, next week. I'm pushing for attending plays, readings, lectures -- wherever our undergrads or grad students or faculty are spending their good energy, we need to show up. Showing up matters.

During the night, between episodes of wondering if we're ever good enough for the work God gives us, I dreamed that I was in a classroom where several voices were breaking in more loudly than mine when I began to speak. Suddenly there stood my former spiritual director, K, whom I last saw in Evanston in May. She took over the room, hushed the others, and rested her hand ever so lightly upon my arm. When I was in tears, she pressed more firmly, so that I could not doubt that I was supported.

Sometimes God sends a dream, and upon awakening, we see circles of golden light dance near the ceiling. And then it is not so hard, after all, to start a new day.

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