Fr Francis X. Clooney has a thoughtful essay at America‘s blog. Living in and serving an academic community, I can certainly relate. Our students had their finals last week, and with summer term beginning tomorrow, the city and campus have had a quiet in-between time.
Some of our students have had a wonderful year; a few have suffered too much, and may not finish their work.
I was thinking of a young friend who has struggled with an injury piled on top of a change in her major field of study and has had to bow out two semesters in a row. Suffered too much? Yes, I can say that, too about this student, and perhaps a few others.
The young miss is also in between: out of high school and not yet in college. What will her future hold, I wonder. Suffering, I am sure. Most all students and young adults I know suffer in some way. Many of them long for some direction and not knowing which way to travel. Vocation and career and the sometimes mixed-up considerations that move people to a job or a life’s mission. This person who is loved, or maybe someone in the future who might be loved a bit more. And this in-between we see more in churches: how will faith be lived as an adult believer?
Fr Clooney’s conclusion sits well with me:
In-between holiness: perhaps this is the best we can hope for, much of the time. In all the in-between moments of our personal lives and work, in our divided society and amidst the growing pains of our Church, we can know this: Jesus, once and future lord of our lives, prays that we be protected, be holy, be on mission. He may have left and not yet returned, but the blessing stays on. And this, we are assured, is a joy that cannot be taken from us: “I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.” (John 17.13)
In essence, we are on pilgrimage whether we recognize it or not. Home and settlement is a fleeting thing.
In my city, it seems like academic breaks are in-between, but in the larger picture, they are little blips in a much larger in-between for young adults. Between family of origin and family of choice, between childhood and workplace, there is a huge gulf. Most of our students do not settle in the university city after graduation–though a few seem to stave off a big geographical step. I live in a community in-between: not quite Iowa farming, and not quite a big city; the students are not quite children but not quite adults either; there is a search for knowledge at the same time many subjects and information is considered to be settled.
In-between holiness? Yes, that seems the best.