Lessons from the semester: Patience, Presence, Trust, and Wisdom

Mario ConliffeDuring a recent stroll, I observed some children playing merrily and freely in the warmth of the sun. Some splashed about in the community’s pool, while others, barebacked, competed exuberantly in a game of basketball, while others still rode their bicycles. Excitement is in the air; it’s the joy of summer! Can you tell?  I feel refreshed and blessed for I too, am in celebration mode – I just completed my first semester at Loyola.

Whew!

This past semester at Loyola has been richly rewarding. The lively discussions in class, at times, were nail-biters. Passion and compassion fueled many a conversation. I vividly recall in my Counseling Theory and Practice class, a highly emotional discussion on the controversial, sensitive, and much publicized killing of Trayvon Martin. There was great contention on whether or not Loyola’s Pastoral Counseling Community had an obligation to address the issue. Also, what were some of the issues we would need to address, and how would we counsel both families? It further sparked debates about counseling the perpetrators of violence and abuse – Can we truly put aside our personal feelings in order to do so?

At other times, students simply shared their personal life stories. I walked away from each class with a greater spirit of acceptance. I felt honored to be a part of a group of people who feel strongly about justice and healing in our world, but also, people who are desirous of making a great contribution.  For the first time in my academic career, I felt excited about going to EVERY class, and about what I was researching and learning in those classes.

No, my experience at Loyola this semester was not all “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.” There were intervals, when frustration, a lack of understanding, and my insatiable hunger to “know it all” overwhelmed me, but kudos to my lecturers. They were always encouraging, patient, willing to listen, and would point me in the right direction.

When all is said and done, I have discovered that impatience in the learning process only lengthens the purgatory of the wilderness. So I conclude this semester with these lessons:

  1. Patience: Be Patient. Learning cannot be rushed; there will be moments of rush and moments of calm.
  2. Presence: Be present in the sacred of learning.
  3. Trust: Trust that the learning will come.
  4. Wisdom: Invite wisdom each day.