Remembering Jack

From a school in Copper Valley, to a legacy of thousands.

As the story goes a group of Jesuits and some of their Sister friends went to Copper Valley to open a school for Native Alaskan children.

60 years later the legacy continues to make a world of difference.

One of the Jesuits from that Copper Valley School decided to walk to Bethlehem in the name of peace.

He and his fellow pilgrims arrived in Jesus’ birthplace on Christmas Eve, or so the legend goes.

(Did you think I meant the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania? So do most people when they hear this story)

That same Jesuit joined me in a buffet line one spring in Seattle and invited me (and my community) to a meal at the local Jesuit residence.

Just like people do every day, except this was only the 2nd time I’ve crossed paths with this Jesuit. Typically, this kind of gesture, although nice, would seem odd to me.

Except for the fact that this Jesuit seemed to possess a level of generosity and kindness of spirit that I hadn’t encountered before, and haven’t since. I knew he meant it.

This kind Jesuit with a boundless spirit and unforgettable sense of humor has touched many, a goal many reach for but very few achieve.

People thought he was nuts. I’m sure there were times he though his own ideas were nuts too. But he went for them anyway.

I laugh to myself whenever I wonder if I’m about to embark on something people think is nuts. Jack would probably be one of those people too, the only difference is, He’d tell you you’re nuts with a smile on his face, then tell you to go for it.

What the Lord can do with a restless spirit is truly amazing, and only something the Lord can do.

I have been truly blessed by his example.

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Father Jack Morris S.J.
1927-2012

“Our human task, if you like, is to not flee from the ill-being but to transform it.”
–Jack Morris, June 2012

*A similar version of this post was written on October 8, 2012, October 22, 2014, September 30, 2015

Grad School: The Third Summer

This summer could have easily been titled “the summer of my discontent,” and school commitments played a big part in that, not just because it takes up a substantial portion of my summer either.

I learned a lot from last summer in terms of class logistics. It’s tempting to load up on courses since they’re readily available. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

One class a day is enough, because there are plenty of ways to fill your day; formation requirements, exploring campus, meeting people behind the avatars, and studying.

As much information you can get your hands on before class starts is good, but somehow it’s never enough. Thankfully it being my 3rd summer I had enough resources to pull together (read: friends) in the same situation so we made it work.

My days basically went like this:
-Breakfast in bed, literally as I didn’t pay for the meal plan this year, so I had some Netf!ix time then too.
-Class
-Lunch
-Library
-Back to my room to finish studying
-Dinner
-Shower
-Bed

For basically 2 weeks straight.

This was the 1st time I’ve had assignments due during the week other than “just” reading. Honestly I hope it’s also the last time, although that’s highly unlikely, because it made things more difficult. It’s hard to truly learn anything when you’re focused on the oral exam at the end of the week.

I’ve never been a fan of oral exams, like most people, they aren’t any easier as an adult.

I had it in my head that last year would be my “summer of suck” but I feel like I had two of them, for different reasons obviously but the feelings were/are the same.

I’ve never spent so much time in a library, ever. In an odd way I’m proud of how I stuck to much of what I had planned. Usually I say one thing and get caught up in the plans of others, however most of us where in the same classes so that had an effect on things.

I did have time to spend one on one time with a few friends, another benefit of not having the meal plan is that you have to get out of your room (and the library). As much as I have enjoyed having a sole focus for a week (in the past) I think my favorite moments from this summer are ones in which I spend time with classmates outside of class.

Many classmates graduated this past spring so they weren’t with us this summer, at least not physically, so I wondered how that would impact my experience this year. Thankfully, well not really, I was kept busy enough that I didn’t think about what was missing this year compared to previous years.

I also relearned what I love about this school and the community. Although I only spend a few weeks a year with people in person it doesn’t feel that way. It just adds to the feeling of community I have every day (even if some days it does mean being underfed, overtired, and stressed out; at least we’re in it together).

A Girl & A Pair Of Shoes

I do not understand shoe obsessions, I have better luck understanding people who have shoe obsessions, until they start doing anything with shoes.

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I hate shopping for shoes more than I hate wearing shoes. I’ve been known to wear shoes much longer than one should simply to avoid the torture of looking for a newer pair. Nevertheless, I make myself attempt to find a new pair every year (usually during tax-free week, just to take some of the sting out of it).

I’d rather be doing anything else on this particular day, still I rolled into the store hoping that just maybe I’d find a pair of shoes without much emotional distress, but I see at least two sales associates I don’t particularly like so I duck into an aisle and start pulling any pair in my size.

Suddenly there was a sales associate standing three feet from me.

“Those are 860s. Those are great shoes. I didn’t mean to overhear your conversation.”

At this point I’m looking down at my feet wondering how on earth she knew what shoes I was wearing based on sight, especially since they were on my feet and I couldn’t find the number printed on the side.

 “If that’s what you’re looking for I can try to find them for you.”

I didn’t like the shoes I had on, but they had a few things working in their favor, they weren’t painful their first second they were on my feet, they fit both of my feet, they still fit without much wear and tear or any deconstruction.

“We keep the smaller sizes in the back. What size do you need?”

I’ve been through this song and dance before so I tell her what I need and continue my own search.

“Are these OK?” she says holing open a box which I look upon with skepticism.

Footwear viability has to pass three phases for me:
-Can I get them on my feet?
-Can I tie them without discomfort?
-Can I walk in them?

The first phase may seem silly but you’d be surprised how quickly a pair of shoes gets a failing grade.

“We’ll have to see if they fit to answer that.”

I make my way to the nearest bench, conveniently out of the eye line of the other sales people and most customers, and proceed to “take apart” one shoe fully expecting the sales associate to voice an objection under the camouflaged as help or left to help someone who actually seemed to need it.

Instead she picks up the other shoe removes the insole and precedes to re-lace the shoe in the same way I had before handing it to me, without making a single comment.

I cautiously put on the right shoe, because if the right shoe doesn’t work there’s no point. Then the left.

Somehow, somewhat miraculously, they fit.

I got a pair of shoes that day, that will probably last until next year, when I repeat this process (and I’m already dreading it).

It’s highly unlikely that the right pair of shoes will help me change the world but a sales person who spends most of her week with shoes changed my experience, even if it might be just once (although I hope it’s not).