Obviously I was leading up to something big with the last few posts. It seems that things have changed a little, so I had to re-evaluate my plans.
My original idea was to walk to Chicago. Partly as a pilgrimage, partly as a way to transition from one life to the next. 150 miles in 6 days; stopping at different churches along the way. In my mind, I'd already thought about the dangers, joys, and possibilities that might arise from such a quest.
For the past month, I've begun training for this walk. If you know me, you know I'm not the most physical guy in the world. Most wouldn't think I could walk 1 mile, most assuredly not 150. However since I've started walking, I do about 4-5 miles each walk. This week I walked home from work and walked back the next morning. Little by little, I'm becoming more active.
However this week a change came about, something we considered but nothing we thought would happen...
I am no longer going to Chicago for my Postulancy. This August the class of postulants have been moved. All 8 of us will now spend the year in Milwaukee, not Chicago.
The reason behind the move is pure logistics. With 8 postulants, 8 post-novices, and 7 professed brothers, 23 people is too big a number for the small friary in Chicago. Perhaps a bigger one needs to be built, perhaps they need to re-assess their setup. Regardless, the problem is still an amiable one: theres too many guy who want to join! (so much for the priest shortage)
Milwaukee actually offers more than Chicago in terms of ministry through the Capuchin Order. In Milwaukee there is the House of Peace, 2 Capuchin parishes, a soup kitchen, prison outreach, and a host of other ministries in the city. By being where the Capuchins are strongest, we have a greater opportunity to work with the other professed brothers and ensure that this is what we want to do with the rest of our lives.
So it's good...and bad.
In my mind, I had envisioned how the next year would go. I'd be living in Chicago, I was learning the area, it was closer to home, I even knew the friary inside and out. This was something new, something I was not accustomed to. It was weird at first; hard to actually digest. I was going somewhere new. I was going somewhere new the first time, but I'd come to terms with the friary...it was my second home.
In retrospect, the move is good for all. One thing I need to leave behind is this notion of what I am used to. The next year will bring many new experiences, some of which I will not be comfortable with. It is time to embrace that which is new and different, and although I have to rethink this idea of a walk, I am happy to serve wherever the Order sends me.
I will still wear my Red Wing's and Lion's jerseys with pride, even if I AM in big cheese country.