Changes

My camera battery died a couple weeks ago and despite turning the house upside down, I couldn’t find the charger. Still can’t, in fact! I finally bought a cheap replacement and discovered, upon changing out both the battery and the memory card, a host of photos from a lifetime ago.

At least it feels that way.

The pictures were taken in August 2012, just as we were moving from my parents’ home in Abbotsford (where we lived for a few months after our condo sold) to our home in Hamilton so Jeremy could attend seminary.

James was the same age then as Alice is today, a delightful, mischievous 14 months.

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The little lad from these photos is now a five-year old boy who’s begun kindergarten at home, loves playing outside and goofing off with his sisters, and finds it unbearable to go through life without excellent stories.

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Our lives have changed a lot since that move and that fact was highlighted a few weeks ago when we gathered around the dinner table to share a meal and to watch Jeremy’s graduation from CRTS via livestream. The last seven years – nearly all of our married life! – has been spent in pursuit of this goal, and so we listened with both joy and satisfaction as Dr. VanVliet conferred, in absentia, a Master of Divinity degree upon Jeremy. Momentous!

We then laughed at Jake’s valedictorian speech (James loved the Narnia reference) and chuckled throughout the delightful Masters of Chant performance by Jeremy’s classmates. The guys at school were always poking fun at each other, and the Masters of Chant highlighted this convivial brotherhood perfectly. For example, they chanted about one student:

William joined this class as the clear MVP
Because he had a PhD
He’s been educated for some 28+ years
But gets his wife to change the tire.
Josephus must never have covered that topic.
Along with many other ones.

Hee hee hee!

And about Jeremy:

Jeremy was our resident wordsmith and blogger
His prose could make you weep and cry
He hosted a weekly gathering of the students
He called it “Pipes and Steins.”
What happened at “Pipes and Steins” stays at “Pipes and Steins.”
You’ll just have to guess. 

(If you missed the convocation ceremony and are dying to watch it, CRTS plans to upload the video onto their website soon for your viewing pleasure!)

But it was also a strange experience to watch this graduation from a physical distance and to realize that the difficult-but-sweet seminary chapter of our lives is really over. Jeremy getting up early to study, coming home midday, us chatting over lunch about his morning classes, his reading and writing as the sun went down on another day – that season is over (well, he still writes and reads a prolifically, but not for school). JOY meetings and clothing swaps, encouraging one another as we fretted about the expectations of pastors and their wives, providing feedback on seminary papers and listening to Jeremy preach sermons – it’s all over!

Later that night we met with our local parish priest and began RCIA, the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. It’s basically a catechism class for people interested in becoming Catholic. The extraordinary juxtaposition of graduating from a Reformed seminary and beginning Catholic catechism classes on the same day was not lost on us. 🙂

Perhaps another day I’ll write a post about how we’ve gotten to where we’re at – but for the moment these lyrics from my childhood have been echoing around in my mind for the last few days and they say it pretty well:

There is a joy in the journey,
There’s a light we can love on the way
There is a wonder and wildness to life,
And freedom for those who obey.

Because if one thing is true, it is that Christ has slowly become bigger and more beautiful to my eyes over the last few months, and for that all the struggle and muddle (and there’s been plenty of it) of the last year has been worth it.

Joy.
Love.
Wonder.
Freedom.

They are all ours in Christ! How profoundly amazing.

In our class tonight we reviewed the teachings of Jesus. The Parable of the Prodigal Son was featured and Father Barron (we’re watching his excellent DVD series) mentioned that the key to understanding the parable is the words of the father to his resentful eldest son. They are full of love, just as the heart of our Father is full of love.

He says to him, and to us, “Son, you are always with me and all that is mine is yours.” 

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The Prodigal Son by Bartolome Murillo

 

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