Eighteen of our staff spent the morning together for the latest stage of our strategic planning process. The question that led to the most animated discussion had to do with our focus. How much emphasis is put on school and academics, and how much focus needs to be on the clinical treatment needs of our students? Of course both are important as we try to serve the students in a holistic way. Some of our students are gifted and talented, and are to be encouraged to strive for excellence. Others come to us below grade level, and we try to nurture them to make steady progress. Because students often come from difficult backgrounds, we find ways to help them heal life’s hurts. We don’t really have the luxury of choosing one or the other but do our best to respond to children in need.
Nick and Shawn are our two high school boys chosen to represent St. Joseph’s Indian School at our June donor luncheons in Chicago. With only a couple of weeks left of school, it’s been hard to find time to practice when both of them available, but we were able to meet this afternoon and get them started. They were hard on themselves when I asked how they did, but it gave them a chance to see what they need to think about and what they want to say. They’re both very excited about being in such a big city.
I began taking a walk around campus this evening to enjoy the wonderful weather. When I walked by the 4th and 5th grade softball game, I was offered the chance to pitch for a few innings. I pitched for both teams and didn’t play favorites, but when the game was finished and I found out that Furies won their first game of the whole season; I was happy for them. When that game was over, I continued my stroll and came to the field where the 6th– 8th graders were competing and I threw a few innings there too. In slow pitch, I’m pretty good at throwing strikes, so I kept laying it in there and batters hit away. I gave up a few home runs, but didn’t mind at all. There were some good defensive plays behind me, and the game kept moving along. Being out in the fresh air with the students had an invigorating effect.
I stayed home the rest of the day, occupied with laundry, reading, prayer, exercise, sorting baseball cards and watching some TV shows I’d recorded.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Yesterday and today have been rather low key for me.
Friday is my day off, and I only went into the office for a short while in the morning to answer mail. I stayed home the rest of the day, occupied with laundry, reading, prayer, exercise, sorting baseball cards and watching some TV shows I’d recorded. Not too exciting or noteworthy, but satisfying and restful to me.
Today, I met with Brother Clay for the first time in almost two months to review how his work has been going. Fr. Anthony has been supervising him in my absence.
When you first enter religious life, you renew your vows one year at a time until you’re ready for final vows. As Brother Clay asks to renew his vows this summer, we’re going through the formal evaluation and request stage.
As he reflects on what he’s learning, where there joys and struggles are, it’s also a good reminder to me to take time to name where I need to grow and improve, and what brings me joy and satisfaction.
As the weather gets nicer, visits to the museum are picking up again. I was called to the museum to say hello to Dennis and Bonnie, donors visiting from California. I had time, so I gave them a tour of campus.
I enjoy the interaction and the chance for a “show and tell” look at the school. I can’t do that every time, but visiting with folks is so much more enjoyable than paperwork.
Today was my last cycle of chemotherapy. I continue to get so much support from many different folks and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. I’m calling it an early night tonight, hoping to sleep off some of the chemo effects.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Today was my last cycle of chemotherapy.
I spent the whole morning in the chair, reading for a while, then dozing off part of the time. When we were all finished, the nurse gave me a pin with the words “Celebrate Life” written around the circle to mark my “graduation”.
I probably won’t feel like celebrating too much for the next couple of days because the chemo wears me out more than the radiation. But, I know it’s another step closer to health and wholeness, and I do feel good about that.
As I left, I told the nurses they were wonderful people, but I hoped I didn’t have to come back and see them as a client again, just for a visit.
I had another visitor, Fr. George, a Jesuit priest from South Dakota. I filled him in on the sarcoma, then we shifted gears and talked about work, church, religious life and baseball. I welcomed the stimulating conversation as it took my mind off of everything medical for a while. We had supper and I was even able to eat some small portions without any troubles.
I continue to get so much support from many different folks and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. I’m calling it an early night tonight, hoping to sleep off some of the chemo effects.
I’ve received piles of get well cards and letters. People share their own struggles to overcome, offer prayers and hope, advice and recipes, cartoons and pictures, prayer books and medals, and even some original art work.
Monday, April 5, 2010
When Brother Clay left this morning, he made sure I had the large box with my mail from the past three weeks.
Again, I’ve received piles of get well cards and letters. People share their own struggles to overcome, offer prayers and hope, advice and recipes, cartoons and pictures, prayer books and medals, and even some original art work.
I was torn between reading through them and watching the White Sox opening day on TV. So, I did both.
Baseball is a leisurely game, and doesn’t require constant attention, so I sat down in the common room with my box and started reading. When the game got exciting, I paid closer attention, and during the lulls, I read a few more notes.
Some were from names I recognized right away, but many shared this common sentiment – “although we’ve never met, through your letters I feel like we’re old friends and I just wanted you to know we’re thinking of you …”
There are so many folks who, over the years, have been such a blessing to St. Joseph’s and now are a real blessing to me.
I had the first seven innings to myself and the letters. The last two innings, I was joined by a couple of other sports fans who came back from their treatments; the talk turned more to baseball and a little to sharing our medical stories.
My team won, and it was a lovely way to spend a good part of the afternoon.