Monday, June 9, 2014

Visiting the Past

So last week I was visiting places of my past.  It was my 25th Reunion from Georgetown University. It was wonderful to be back on campus, sharing my love of Georgetown with my family. It was also great to connect with friends, listen to some great talks and enjoy being back on campus.  I found myself thinking a lot about who I was at Georgetown, what opportunities I took advantage of and which ones I didn't.  I had to really fight the impulse to be filled with regret with all I didn't do.  There is an element of the bittersweet - on the one hand it was great to be back and on the other I realize all that I didn't do, all that I did not explore while I was there.

Photos by Mollie Sequeira, design by me using Canva!

The second place I went was to worship at the Washington National Cathedral.  I worked for the worship department at the National Cathedral in the early 90's. It was the second full time job I held after graduating from Georgetown.  It was an amazing place to work, that I don't believe I fully appreciated until later.  I had the opportunity to meet Jimmy and Roslyn Carter, participate in the ordination and consecration of Jane Dixon, the 2nd woman bishop in the Episcopal Church and hear the Dalai Lama.  No regret here.  It was truly an encounter with the past when the Rev. Frank Wade was the celebrant and I worked for him at St. Alban's Episcopal Church while I was attending Wesley Theological Seminary.

Both Georgetown and the National Cathedral have changed tremendously since I walked their grounds.  Of course I have changed too.  In some ways it is true that you cannot go back, you cannot go home again and on the other hand, it is good to go back, to see how things have changed and it stirred within me things I have let go of over the years.  Am I being called to re-visit these things - is there a way I need to integrate them within my life now?

I struggle with this notion of living with no regrets for in some cases the regret does not come until later.  It is true as Maya Angelou says "when I know better, I do better."  For example I had always hoped to travel abroad but since I transferred into Georgetown I did not want to be away from campus during any part of my three years.  Later, much later, it dawned on me that I could have done a summer abroad.  Again, a regret, and one to let go of since I didn't know to do that at the time.  Now I think about what it might mean to live and work abroad so perhaps I can still turn that longed for dream into a reality.  I am not sure any more if regret should always be avoided, certainly not something to get stuck in, yet it can serve as a catalyst for new dreams.  Hey I didn't do that, I wish I had, is there some new way I can imagine it now.

The trip to Georgetown was also an affirmation of so much that I know be essential to who I am. This picture taken in front of this sign captures this well.  I took my very first theology class at Georgetown. Thank you Monika Hellwig and all my other teachers at Georgetown who seeded my life long love of theology. Thank you also for giving me a place to doubt, to question my faith, to wrestle with it.  Truly I would not be who I am now without the guidance and teaching I received at Georgetown.  I am forever grateful and forever proud to be a Hoya!

So visiting the places of my past has been an opportunity to reflect with both gratitude and to let the regret come. Because from those seeds of longing come new dreams. I am not letting go of my dream of travel, living and working abroad.  I don't know what shape it will take yet, but I am feeding this dream.  One day I will post here that my further posts will come from abroad!

What places of your past have you visited?  Do you have "regrets" that could become new dreams?