Monday, January 03, 2011

Groundhog Bill peeks out of his cave

This from Bill:

I’ve been gone from the blog-sphere for a long time. Apart from our Christmas greetings, I haven’t blogged since August. For those who check here to see how we’re doing--sorry for making you wait and we are doing well, thank you.

The reason I’ve been away is the doctor of ministry degree. I started it 7 years ago and made great progress the first three years. I even completed work during our last itineration. Then we left for language school. My experience is language school was truly formative. The language school’s name is Cincel, which roughly translates to “chisel.” And that is exactly what it felt like. I learned to speak Spanish the way one learns to be an Olympic runner—by being dragged behind a horse. When we got to Peru there was a lot of work to do. I found that being a missionary was a full time job.

After being in Peru for one year, I finally completed a class that had been on hold since I left the states. Then I finished chapter one of the doctoral project (the doctor of ministry version of a dissertation). A few months passed by and I turned in chapter two. I still had one class left to take and, by grace, I finished that in May. (It was on Biblical Theology and I loved it!) Then, we moved back to the states. Our first term in Peru was excellent, but not without significant challenges. Both Lena and I needed to thaw-out from the stress of it all. Our house in Cincinnati needed work, which is a great way to thaw out. It was also time to start re-raising our budget. So, the doctoral progress slowed down—but it didn’t stop. We rearranged the bedrooms in the house, which gave me an office upstairs. It became my sanctuary—otherwise known as “the cave.” One evening, last summer, I took a couple hours off and went to the pool with the kids. Willy asked me, “Are you done writing your book, Dad? … Cuz you don’t go to the pool with us.” Ouch! I told him I wasn’t done yet, but the end was in sight.

Time went by and chapter three was finished. I believe that chapter three is the nail that sealed the door of blogging creativity. I was not able to think about the doctoral work and also write something creative here. My devotional journal also took a vacation during those months. I was still doing my devotions, but there wasn’t a lot of creative reflection going on. It was a worthy trade off. Getting a degree is not easy, but it is worth it. Real learning challenges one to go way outside of one’s comfort zone in the uncomfortable growth zone. That’s where I’ve been.

Over the Christmas holidays, I was able to turn in Chapters four and five—the final chapters. I’ve also compiled most of the appendices. I’m not completely done, yet. There are more edits to do, to get it right. I also have to present the project in Springfield, Missouri, at the end of April. Then I walk the line and officially become Doctor Bill. Working on this degree has been an incredible journey. The classes have transformed my thinking and the friendships I’ve made have been wonderful.

Now, I’m like a groundhog, peeking out of my cave. I’m writing today to say to my family and all my friends, “Thanks for your support.” Thanks for not feeling dissed when I didn’t call or come to some gathering. Thanks for understanding. Thanks for letting me press through and grow.

1 comment:

Lena Shrader said...

Your welcome, Doctor Bill.