I returned my stack of books to the library today and popped in to see one of my professors to say good-bye. We got to talking about how the biggest problem for most of the grad students who are like me (already adults with jobs and families) is that we don't actually know what to do with all this information now that we've devoted so much energy to attaining it.
Can I do more than send money to build a well for Bono's birthday? Please.
Is writing enough? Sometimes it seems to be and others it seems the height of absurdity and insular living.
We talked about all the things that this professor is doing through Xavier to prepare the undergraduates at X for a future of engaged service that extends beyond education and career, into vocation or self-giving. And he's full of bright, exciting, practical ideas to make that happen. Yet here I sat in front of him and he agreed - that my complaint is repeated over and over again by other graduate students. Where to now, St. Peter?
As I drove away, it occured to me that this malaise and inability to find a way to make a difference is part of the condition of mid-life and suburban living and few seem to have figured out a way to solve it. Then I thought: what if? What if you and I (you and me and who ever else) thought about it a bit and really gave ourselves to thinking about practical ways we can give/serve in the midst of afterprom and soccer games, music lessons and birthday parties?
I'm tired of waiting for something to emerge on my behalf. I want to use my skill set (not try to become some super human who takes glorified vacations and calls them mission trips) to do something that matters beyond myself. So for the next little while, as I go about my daily business, I'm going to look for what might be done by people like you and me that would matter and make a real difference. If you get any ideas, send them my way. Let's compile some kind of meaningful "to do" list for ourselves. Who's with me?