Caught in the Middle

These are surreal times, they are. I am in quite the liminal state, passing between what seems to be entirely different lives. For the past couple of month, I have felt caught between two worlds: the world of formation with the friars and the world of being a priest. With each new day passing, part of the previous world passes away, and part of the new world comes into focus. For someone that naturally lives in the future and moves on quickly, the last few months have been especially difficult to keep my feet on the ground in the present moment.

On Tuesday, the ground disappeared. We have reached full liminal state here.

You see, on Tuesday, I finished my last day of class. Ever. I am no longer a student of any school, and I have no intention of ever returning in the future. As I write this, in fact, the students of my former school are gathering for graduation… as I make one final exercise of protest, sitting in my room writing, editing a video, and packing rather than attending.

Yeah. I’m done with school. And you can’t make me go to graduation.

For the next three weeks (and undoubtedly a few months thereafter as my paperwork for faculties awaits processing…) I will find myself without a clear identity, without a direct purpose, and, interestingly enough, without a home. No longer a student, not yet a priest; no longer a resident of Chicago, not yet moved in to Georgia. It’s a weird state to be in. While what I share in this video is a lot of excitement, I can’t say that I’m exactly giddy, nor am I nervous. After a long semester, a long year, a long 8 years in formation… I find myself a bit tired, and a bit unsure.

Not unsure of my vocation. No, not that. Just unsure of what I should be doing in this exact moment. Being in between two worlds, I have a (literal) pile of things that need taken care of immediately (packing, cleaning, editing videos) and yet nothing pressing at all; being in between two worlds, I don’t really have any serious responsibilities to take care of, which means that I have nothing to keep me sharp and on point. Maybe I’ll edit a video… or maybe I’ll just lie on my bed in the midst of a half-torn-apart room and take a nap.

(Which is, by the way, why the next “A Friar Life” may not be ready tomorrow. Just warning you.)

I’m happy and excited about a door closing in my life, happy and excited about a door soon to open, but find myself in between, tired and a bit apathetic. And I’m okay with that. Over the next month before ordination, I will wrap up things in this house, move my stuff into my new house, take a few weeks vacation, and take a week of silent retreat. I will undoubtedly pull back my social media activity in that time (although not entirely), and hope, after my liminal cocoon, be back this summer a somewhat different person.

Peace and good to everyone!

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6 Comments on “Caught in the Middle

  1. We’ve all prayed for this day for a. Under of years Br. Casey. Be at peace…the journey is truly just beginning. God bless you and thank you for the years of yourself that you’ve given to us all!

  2. Oops…sorry. Should say for a number of years.

  3. Good luck to you in the next few weeks
    I’ll be praying for you and hopefully hear from you
    God bless
    Karen Craig
    Faithful follower

  4. God bless you as you end this phase of your life and begin another. I remember you as a summer Intern at St. Anthony of Padua and have followed your progress through the years. I was privileged to witness your ordination to the transitional diaconate and I hope to be at your ordination to the priesthood. May God bless you with a fruitful life as a priest.

  5. Deacon Casey, I enjoyed your exploration of the liminal state in which you find yourself. You might consider that it has less to do with graduation and moving than embracing a Gospel life. I am confident you are familiar with the idea of “in the world but not of it.” And so it is when we accept the Gospel life, a life mirroring Christ to our best ability, for the Son of Man has no place to lie his head. God bless you always!

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