Thursday, December 18, 2014
I am on my way back to Minneapolis as I write this. My Chicago miniature vacation is now a mere memory. Memory has been on my mind a lot during my trip.
While visiting Chicago I took some time to honor my paternal family of origin. As I noted in a very recent posting here on my blog I went to the Madonna della Strada chapel on the Loyola University Chicago campus. I made the chapel the location for a ritual meant to formally recognize the end of my relationship with my father and his siblings. I am still willing to reopen my heart to my family of origin should I feel I am finally fully heard regarding the injustice I experienced as a kid. Perhaps something will change one day in the future. But I will no longer give my energy to entertaining this dream. I also won’t reach out again in the hope something is different. I must move on.
Doing this ritual in Chicago seemed to be a fitting location. I found myself thinking back to the life I lived when I was a Jesuit scholastic attending Loyola University Chicago during the 1998-1999 academic year. I briefly visited the Jesuit property I called my home during that time. Over fifteen years has now passed since I left Chicago on May 18, 1999. Yes, I still remember the day I left. It seems a bit surreal to me that it was so many years ago now.
While on the bus this morning I found myself thinking back to another formative period in my life. The Star Tribune has an editorial about the state of the school system available to the Lakota Sioux people. It makes for a sobering read. Alcoholism, poverty and the decay of infrastructure still mark the lives of the Lakota people. Lakota children face certain barriers to a successful education not necessarily shared by their counterparts of different origins. I remember both the beauty and the sadness of the Lakota people. I lived among them for a period of four months in early 1997. That time still stands out in my memory now.
I find myself pondering what my professional legacy will be. My memories from my life lived in Chicago and South Dakota inform my reflections on this topic. I want to do something in my professional life that will be valued and remembered. I want to do something significant. I want to later be remembered as a happy and loving man who enjoyed his work, his life and his friendships. I want to be what you might call a fully realized human being.