I’m in Chicago for the fourth and final session of the Lay Counseling Certification program through The Allender Center, part of The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. Our distinguished professor has been none other than the center’s founder, Dr. Dan Allender, who has been one of my heroes for a long time. (His books Bold Love and The Cry of the Soul should be required reading by all Christians. And The Wounded Heart is considered by many to be the best book on the topic of healing from sexual abuse available to date.) To say being part of this program has been a privilege would be an understatement.
I was excited to come, and to hopefully finish well, but also a bit concerned. I’ve been on this Lenten journey for four weeks now, and have developed some lovely routines at home. Would l be able to continue those things in a hotel room, in a different time zone (yawwn), while needing to eat in restaurants? Was I supposed to stay “strict” with my Guatemalan diet or would this be a time to lean into grace?
The picture above shows a table in the living area of the two-room suite I’m sharing with my new and dear friend, Kelli. (See her blog HERE.) There was no way I could bring the huge Lenten wreath that takes up the center of my dining table, but I decided to bring some of the candles, and the lovely carving of Christ carrying His cross. I tucked my Anglican prayer beads and a votive candle in my suitcase to continue experimenting with different ways of praying this rosary, and greeting the day with light breaking through the darkness. I am grateful to be able to bring some beauty from home along with me.
As for the food…breakfast will be easy as the free buffet at the hotel has oatmeal and bananas, and I know I can get a salad at lunch. Dinner will be trickier. I think there’s a Mexican place nearby where i can get tortillas, beans, and chicken, but I’ve decided to go with the flow and see what each evening brings.
I don’t know how much I’ll be able to write while I’m here; possibly not at all. These four-day sessions can be quite intense, and the schedule is packed solid from morning through dinner. Not sure I will have energy for writing in the evenings.
I thank you in advance for your patience.
And I covet your prayers.