Enter Clever Title, Personal Update Sept ’16

I just noticed that my blog was still titled hiphoppriest, even though I also announced that I retired from making hip hop music. This is something of an update of a number of things. It is worth rereading that hip hop retirement post, because I left something out.

I have also had I number of things happen that have turned my families life upside down nearly two years ago. You can read the first post about my dad’s health issue here, a second update about the ongoing health crisis here, and the last personal update of spring 2015 here. Two years later, I may have finally adjusted to this new situation.

If you were to backtrack on my posts, In the summer of 2014, I had nearly a dozen posts that I was working on. I had been invited to speak at a Theology of the Body session, and I talked about Augustine’s Sermons. I developed a post on that that went viral. I had 5-6 posts as saved drafts on WordPress, and 10 others on my computer. All this stuff happened with my dad, and the WordPress drafts were all published, BUT I STOPPED WRITING NEW STUFF until my spring 2015 update.

About my dad.

In summary, after 8 months of my dad not getting stronger after his recovery from West Nile Virus, we had to sell his house, and attend to finding a permanent solution to his care. He could no longer walk, etc. Two years later, he is not any stronger.

What positivity can I speak about my dad’s condition? I will be honest, all the Christian people in my life have the obnoxious manner of asking about my dad, but not asking about the burden I now carried. Sometimes they glibly responded with something about how everything will get back to normal. It was challenging trying to be honest with the sobering reality that despite my dad’s recovery, he was now permanently incapacitated and unable to take care of himself.

As a widowed 69 year old man, he may have not been taking care of himself. During my visits home, there were things that concerned me. He avoided social invitations to go to bed early, to wake up early, to go back to bed for a morning nap. He looked forward to his pets, and TV. He didn’t seem to have good nutrition habits (which is not unique to men his age). His house was falling apart, over forty years of cosmetic repairs, the plumbing and gas had catastrophic failures. After my dad’s condition, the electricity in the house broke down as well. With my brother’s marriage impending, I was concerned about him living alone in this broken down house.

Now that he’s living in a facility, he is cared for and attended to. He is more social here than he ever was at home. He is also provided meals and medicine. Although I anticipated more than a decade of quality life for him before West Nile, I have to wonder what would have happened without the West Nile. Perhaps he would be skipping his medicine, perhaps skipping more meals, perhaps too disinterested in getting a new dog after his current dog passed. Perhaps he is better off.

Myself

 

Ask about myself? Yes, it was very frustrating for myself to have to talk about my dad not getting better. Meanwhile I had all the normal struggles of a young adult adjusting to his new professional career, of adjusting to his family at home, etc. A new provincial was elected. A new prior was appointed. Our cook retired, and our meal situation was in flux. I was adjusting to a working relationship with my bosses. I was sometimes surprised to find that I was often alone in my responsibilities. I was spending more time YELLING at students who were revolting against me, than actually doing much pastoral care.

I spent all this time preparing to be a priest, learning about theology, sacraments, preaching, presiding, and counseling. I ended up spending most of my time ordering burritos for student retreat planning meetings. That, and yelling at kids. It’s an all boys school, it’s what the coaches do, it’s what they want! I am not being sarcastic. Sometimes it hasn’t suited my temperament, but I have gotten a lot better at what I do.

I found several ways to use technology to make my life easier. I found better ways to communicate with students via Remind (an app that sends text msg reminders to students so I don’t have to keep chasing and yelling). I use Google Drive for all sorts of collaborative documents and databases, instead of spending half the time passing a flash drive. I made it easier for the others in Campus Ministry to collaborate with me, and I with them. I developed our resources, and diverted most of our funding to better equipment rather than junk food. Although a minor amateur former artist, I have been able to develop graphics to help brand some of our retreats.

There has been a lot of good stuff going on. I don’t anticipate having a long term assignment here, and I am happy about that. But I know that I have done a lot to impact the campus ministry department at the school so that it functions as a better professional environment. I should also note that I the people in my Campus Ministry department have been one of the best parts of my job/ministry.

At home in the monastery, things finally settled after the Transitions. We are fixing up all the guestrooms, but are bursting at the seems with younger friars and new vocations. This year, I am designated with assisting the Prior with our Student Friars. These are a different sort of students than the adolescent boys in the high school. I had been the youngest for a while, now there are more than half a dozen younger than me.

More blogging?

Well yes. My 10 year old computer needs to be replaced. Programs no longer work, or take 10 minutes to load. My computer is burning up my fingers as I type, and the processor is loud and exhausted trying to process the software. I can no longer stream videos on here, they just look ugly. I have all these blog posts that I am dumping on the internet.

I had a few good ideas two years ago, and I want to include them, in addition to the small handful of new ideas of blog posts. I have, for now, had to title my blog with something transitional. After publishing a series of posts, after observing any possible interest, I might change it. Of course, I am more inclined to let it set on this webpage for a while even if I don’t update it. I haven’t decided if I am really going to devote myself to blogging.

At this time, BLOGGING WILL NOT SUPPLEMENT MY CURRENT MINISTRY. The students can barely do the reading they are assigned in the school, let alone looking at a blog (kids don’t read blogs). The kids get excited about my music, but don’t look at it. This blog is of no use to my ministry.

I will post the remainder of my blog posts, with a few additions. If I am reassigned soon, I may consider blogging.

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4 thoughts on “Enter Clever Title, Personal Update Sept ’16

  1. Dear Father,

    Janette and I love you! I am glad your father is doing well in his new living arrangements. It seems like it is a blessing from the Lord. Thank you for such an open and honest post. I hope to see you soon.

    Your favorite Byzantine,

    Nelson

  2. I’ve been blogging since 2002, doing understand transitional phases. Maybe you need a stronger “why” for your blog. If there isn’t one, you shouldn’t have to feel bad about saying goodbye.

    • Thank you!
      Yes, I think the why, in my tumblr days: I had a readership. Now, I thought it would supplement my work as a minister. Doing ministry with youth, that doesn’t seem to work. If my next ministry assignment is different, I can probably do bloggin with more confidence that it can be impactful.

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