This is a very interesting time for me. There are a number of people who have been very important to me who are moving on to other things and there are others who are coming into my life. These comings and goings bring hope that we'll maintain the relationships that we've had and anticipation about what the new relationships will bring.
We went to a going away party for Ron Slepitza and his family last night (Saturday, 8-29-06). Ron and I have been colleagues for 32 years. Ron was actually the first grad student who I ever had the chance to work with. He was so totally into his masters work that he bugged me until I joined him in doctoral study at the University of Maryland. Ron and I have stayed in contact throughout the years. We've enjoyed being near each other for the last ten years but now he's moving on to the presidency of Avila College in Kansas City. Ron is very excited about his new work and will do a great job. But, we'll miss not having them close.
In addition to losing the immediate friendship of Ron and Suzanne, all the grad students with whom I worked over the last two years are now off on their own. Julie is married and working at UNC-Chapel Hill, Matt is working at the Kettering Foundation (it's easier for us to stay in contact), and Dave is off to Doha, Qatar, working for Carnegie Mellon University.
While these treasured friends are on their way, others are reentering or entering my life. Darbi (youngest daughter) just returned from an incredible 6 week wilderness and spiritual adventure in the Wind River Range of Wyoming. It was difficult having no contact with her for 6 weeks and what a relief to have her back. Liz Housholder is joining me in the next two weeks as a new grad student. Monica Ways and Nick Longo have just joined Miami as Directors of Community Engagement & Service and the Harry T. Wilks Leadership Institute, respectively. Both are unbelievable new colleagues who will make a huge difference at Miami.
This next Wednesday, Diane, Darbi, and I are off for a 10-day vacation up north. We're looking forward to being free of the press of regular life in Oxford (sounds impossible in the summer, doesn't it?). We'll be back just in time to begin the fall ramp-up week on August 14. If I have a chance to blog, I'll put some travel pictures up while we're gone. Otherwise, come back after the 14th for a look at what we did.
Comings and goings - part of the rhythm of life. The only thing that I've learned over time and that makes it easier to accept this ebb and flow is that the good ones are never really that far away!