These past days in Iowa City have been dramatic, not only because our friend Brad is here rehearsing for the Shakespeare Festival, opening this weekend.
The rains continue, and the flooding worsens. We haven't seen flooding like this since 1993. Many streets (including the main route into Iowa City from I-80) have been under water since last weekend. I've learned how to find my way to church down back roads. The church and surrounding downtown area are fine, but much of the lower campus is not. A music professor from my parish relates that the School of Music building, with its renovated performance center, is being evacuated and closed as of 5 p.m. today -- for the summer! This seems extreme, but apparently the impending flood will also require summer classes and offices to relocate, as well as the Shakespeare Festival itself, originally scheduled for City Park. City Park is under water.
In addition to the rising rivers, I've been in the midst of a flood of prayer, with more critical family situations going on at once than I could list here. One of most moving life passages happened on Sunday and Monday: our seminary friend, Joyce, called to ask if I could visit her seriously ill brother again (I'd visited him at Iowa City's University Hospital a few weeks ago); when I arrived on Sunday I gathered the extended family and anointed him in the ICU. He died yesterday. It was a gift to me to have met him and to be with the family; the oil stock I carry is from my seminary friend and former Field Ed supervisor, Leigh.
This all happened on the same weekend as my dear friends Laurel, Court and Brad were ordained to the transitional diaconate; other friends were gathered further away in memorial services for family, or having babies, or moving.
I'm astounded by how deep the seminary connections reach. And the good part? These connections don't stop at graduation, when we all disperse. Laurel visits soon; so will Gary and Kathy and Donna. We receive word, one way or another, of life changes and visits. If we're lucky, we get to be part of the mystery of it all, moving in and out of one another's lives once more.