Training Wheels

Nolan with his training wheels

There is a voice inside us all
That says rebuild
And when it’s called
All that is wrong can be put right
There in your soul
To change your life (There Is A Voice – Squeeze)

I am considering a return to school to earn my Master’s Degree in Theology. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time now and in the past several weeks have started to look seriously into what it would take. There are a lot of things that will need to be weighed before I make the decision to get my original college transcripts in order, of course. Obviously I’m looking at universities that allow for distance. Time is a factor. My commitment is another. And of course there’s the money issue.

Right now I have one child in their freshman year of high school, another just starting with his elementary education. In a few years his little sister will join him. All three attend Catholic schools. And in too short a time my oldest will be leaving for college. So this probably is a crazy notion to even have right?

Each day’s a hope each day’s a prayer
That I might build
And I’ll repair
The parts in me that may have slipped
Deep in my soul
When I lose my grip

A lot will depend upon decisions made by my oldest in the coming years. There is an outside chance that he will not attend college. The other day he informed me that he is still holding to his plans on attending officer’s school and becoming a Marine commander. But being a few short months shy of his fifteenth birthday who knows how many times he’ll be rethinking this position?

Why a Master’s in Theology, and with an emphasis on Catechesis and Evangelization to boot? Because I like to write. Because I like to serve. And because I want to combine the two. I believe by using the talents I have been given in the use of technology, social media and communications that I was one to whom Pope John Paul II was addressing when he asked all Catholics to get involved in a “new evangelization.” To communicate better with the world. Most who have read me for awhile now recognize that there are hints of this in my prose. It is not my intent to write with a hammer, but to do a better job with my clarity. To be informed and inform others on what it is I’m trying to convey.

I’ve reached a point in my life where I need a little help…a little training…to take this to the next level. My thoughts and my ability to express them for others through my riding is my bicycle. It is being kept upright with training wheels that are the sum of my experiences, readings, and meditations. I want to take them off. I feel to do so now, however, would cause me to veer off the path and into the bushes on the side of the road. I know this from experience, both metaphorical and otherwise.

And there’s ropes and chains
Slowing me as I walk
I feel hope through pain
As the road ahead forks
To the left and the right
To the right and the wrong

And so this week I began to explore my options just a little further, contacting an admissions office or two. This isn’t something I’ll rush in to, any more than Nolan was in a hurry for me to remove the training wheels from his first bike a decade ago. I do believe it is as inevitable for me as it was for him however. I’ll be wobbly. I’ll fall a lot. I’ll bruise my knees and scrape my elbows. Eventually I’ll be steadied and learn to fly.

And if I am unable to do this? Then it will take me a little longer perhaps. But as I’ve written before I’ve a lot of life, and miles, left in me. My bike will continue down this road.

I’ve half-heartedly joked for years that I should have been a monk. There are so many things about the monastic life that appeal to me. But I wasn’t called to that. I was called to be a husband, a father, a friend, and I believe, a writer. I will continue to do all of these and to grow. But a little help won’t hurt.


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