By Kate Gerwin
“Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me. I‘d like to discuss the most efficient way for me complete the program…”
The words come back to me like it was yesterday. At the ripe old age of 25, the specter of 30 loomed large in the distance like an exacting track coach, ready to record my time; I was beginning to feel the pressure to “have something to show for myself,”…not that I would have admitted that to anyone—or God forbid to myself—at the time. Having attended Loyola as an undergrad Theology major, I had long been familiar with the Pastoral Counseling program and knew that something felt right about it to me; the marriage of spirituality and psychology excited me in a way I couldn’t yet name, but I somehow knew I needed to be a part of what it entailed. My desire was sincere and my heart was open, and yet I couldn’t shake the culturally prescribed feeling that I had to get it all done NOW… or better yet, yesterday.
Without hesitating, Dr. Filakowski smiled knowingly and offered what might be the best advice I’ve received to date, “Try not to speed up the process too much.”
And that is exactly what my time in the Pastoral Counseling program has been; a process. Not necessarily a linear one, not always a “successful” one, but certainly a life changing one. It has been the process of learning to accept where I am and who I am— a person full of flaws and contradictions, gifts and graces. It has been a process of learning how to press into those parts of myself that scare me and cause me to recoil; and to freely gift those parts of me that I love, without expectation of return. It has been a process of learning to wait expectantly while immersing myself in the moment and a process that challenges me to constantly reexamine what I knew to be true. It is a process that has helped me to become more compassionate, more open minded and even, more patient. Though I hope to graduate in May of 2015 (after 30, I might add), I hope it is a process that never ends.