This whole blog thing started a few years back as part of my doctoral studies at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. Although I have always loved writing (as a way of maintaining sanity) I hadn’t thought much about blogging. Over the years though I’ve grown to really enjoy it. It is risky – but fun – to put what you think out into the ether.
What is strange is that I began to feel like I should be writing more often after I started the blog. I felt a sense of obligation, responsibility to produce words on a screen. Unfortunately those words needed to be focused less on random musings and more directly related to pastoral leadership, aka my dissertation. While I wanted to be writing more on fatherhood, matters of faith, growing food and cooking it, and other stuff that comes to me, I had to produce page after page for the program.
The good news is that the dissertation is not only complete but it defended, printed, and I graduated last weekend. That’s a pretty cool feeling, I’ve got to say. I am glad that I did the work and finished. However, I want to shout from the rooftops my thanks (to Sherry chiefly but our sons and our friends too) because I could not have finished without encouragement – and I needed it a lot along the way.
I learned as much about the power of encouragement as I did about leading change through the dissertation process. Believe it or not writing isn’t easy (at least not for me). Through the process there were moments of doubt – moments when I thought about walking away from it for good reasons (we moved, needed to spend more time with my family, had to write sermons and classes, wanted to go fishing and plant a garden). That’s when the power of encouragement came to bear.
A well-timed “hang in there” or “don’t be stupid you can’t quit now” were helpful beyond words. It occurs to me how important it is that we work to encourage others. It gets us out of ourselves, helps us to think of others (of course we have to listen first). And we can’t really encourage people with rote platitudes but with honesty, with compassion, with empathy and a desire to see them flourish and or make it through whatever they are going through (even if it is the self-imposed madness of a dissertation).
In any case – it feels good to be done and good to be able to thank a lot of folks who encouraged me. And now good to write about other things.
Oh and if you need a cure for insomnia you can read my dissertation just click > (Orchestrating Change.)