Monday, October 17, 2005
During the summer, I received correspondance regarding a graduation ceremony for those of us known as "The Grad Dips". Mercifully, we had all previously undergone the process in other subjects so were not exactly waiting with baited breath for it to be further confirmed that we are now Occupational Therapists, especially since most of us already have two certificates and job descriptions to prove so. The Occupational Therapy department at S. Martin's College, Lancaster were simply demonstrating their usual level of competence when they requested the honour of my presence in September to rather belatedly receive my college badge!
I had in fact been looking forward to some sort of an excuse to return to Lancaster. Although I spent virtually the same amount of time away from Lancaster on placement as I did residing there, I still regarded the town as my home for the two years it took me to complete my course. I had appreciated and enjoyed the fellowship I found at St Tees (St Thomas's Church of England): being a part of the student lunch gang, the friendship and support I found in my housegroup, the fabulous hospitality of my student link family which extended to providing me with a home for the last month of my course and the prayer and counselling support a wise woman of the pastoral support team provided. All of which kept my otherwise stressful and constantly changing lifestyle stable.
Going back to Lancaster was a reflective experience; all the things that I had spent my time waiting for while I was there have now happened: I managed to complete all my assignments adequately, and on time! I am now safely married, permanently reunited with my beloved therefore no longer pining after my 'phantom fiance' who nobody had met! That was one of the things that was great about going back because I was able to take Ryan with me and introduce him to my course mates and my church friends.
My course mates awarded me the prize of 'most successful long distance relationship' at our end of course party and having now received my college badge, I would still say I am more proud of the former rather than the latter. It was said in the graduation opening address that completing the demands of such an intensive course was an achievement, but to know that I did so while under additional personal stress makes me wonder how I managed. Of course I know the answer to that, it lies in the church support that I mentioned above and other friends that I was able to call on in moments of strife and distress and the faithfulness and love of the friend I have in Jesus.
Now that I am living my grown-up life as a wife and worker, I am thankful for the Lancaster time, the time that allowed me to discover who 'Morag' was. For while I was there, that's who I was, simply Morag; for once I was not someone's sister or daughter or girlfriend or academic mother, just ME. And I discovered that it was OK to be me, and that some of the things I believed about myself were not necessarily true but that quite a lot of people and God seemed to love me despite my making mistakes and getting mixed up about stuff.
God did some painful, difficult and amazing work in me while I was a student in Lancaster for which I'm grateful. I met some great people both there and in Carlisle, Hull and Glasgow where I spent time on placement and somehow along the way I managed to do some growing up. Not that I intend to ever fully grow up but the loss of student card and young person's rail card and the acqusitions of a car, job, husband and very soon a mortgage might indicate that 2005 has heralded Princess Morag - the adult.