My sister and I were down in Washington DC last week for a couple of big events. The first was to see the famous blooming cherry trees surrounding the tidal basin. Sadly, that late winter storm caused most of the blossoms to freeze, reducing the dramatic show to a whimper. Having built this event up over the last several months, my sister couldn't wait to see those beautiful blooms. In truth, it had been many years since I saw them myself, and was looking forward to it too. Both of us walked back to the hotel feeling a bit let down. Maybe next year?
The other event which brought us to the nation's capital was my doctoral defense, which took place last Wednesday. With some sense of trepidation, I was also looking forward to this major life event. After five years, my time at Catholic University of America was coming to an end, in the form of a one hour presentation before a committee of three. I felt prepared, but nervous at the same time. I got things set up (thanks to the help of my sister), reviewed the power point one last time, and then waited for people to arrive. Gratefully, it was my friends who came first.
What a blessing it was to have them there for support! Then, the committee arrived, and we got started. I could go on and on about this sixty minute event, but let's just say it all went well and I left Caldwell Hall a Doctor of Ministry (after a champagne toast). I was flooded with joyous relief, and as my friends and I walked over to the National Shrine for a Mass of Thanksgiving, I couldn't help but think about the mysteries of life, how one chapter closes and another opens. None of us knows what the future holds, but I trust that my discernment on this last chapter just beginning might prove right, that a great adventure lay ahead, one which will carry me far into the future, a future full of hope. Praised be Jesus Christ.