Tomorrow morning we leave for Connecticut. I spent the last two years attending Fairfield University’s MFA program. We meet twice a year in Mystic, Connecticut at St. Edmund’s Retreat on Enders Island for ten days. I’ve met some amazing people and had the chance to work with great writers and academics. The island is a world of difference between the summer and winter residencies. I’ve spent mornings at 15 and 75 degrees, seen the place swept in snow and sunlight. There is a mystical (fitting) beauty to the island and it provides moments of exquisite solitude. On Friday, I’ll graduate and tonight I’m thinking about the future.
Graduation is a time for transition, whether it is kindergarten, high school, or college. When I was a freshman, I went to my adviser and said I wanted to be a writer. He was about 107 years old and laughed over his rumpled suit and tie. He said, “You probably won’t be successful, so you should consider an alternative.” I knew, in that moment, I would write. It was a seed planted in my soul. I’m one of those people who don’t respond well to being told that I can’t do something. One thing he did not know, or see, was my passion.
I finished my first novel roughly five years after that conversation.
Carter told Val today that, when he grows up, he “wants to be a writer like daddy and write about Jesus.” That is priceless. That is the point of being a father. He doesn’t even need to end up writing. If he uses his passion to serve and live a satisfied life, I’ll be happy. Time goes so fast. Both of my boys get bigger each day. They are like living mirrors, reminders of the future that is to come.
Today I landed my first interview with a local business owner for Overcome (Rescuing the City of Reading). I am excited to talk with him and get rolling on this project. I feel like so many forces have converged to this week and that good things are coming. It is a mix of excitement, nerves, and happiness. I am truly blessed and thankful. Always remember, no matter what anyone says, never stop fighting. Never stop chasing your dreams. Never stop following your passion and serving others. The trick is to be, like the shark, always moving.
On Friday we will celebrate on the island, laugh and trade stories. I’ll forget about stresses for a few hours and allow myself a moment of peace.
That is worth the cost of any degree and the launch for the next step of this journey.