It has been quite a while since I have paid attention to my writing.  Not because I did not want to write, but because there are times in life when there just is not enough time to do everything.  This last year has been one of those times.  Taking a short sabbatical from the blog was essential in order to give proper attention to everything else that was going on. Most specifically, I needed to pay attention to the business that funds me sufficiently so that I can continue with the chaplaincy at the University: I opened up a small store.  I can, and will, talk about it for hours and will relate a great deal of what has gone on there here in this blog as it directly relates; but first I want to discuss the conference that I am at – the 2012 Global Conference of Chaplains in Higher Education.

I drove to New Haven yesterday and had about five hours to myself to contemplate the time I would be spending here.  How many people would be here, what different religions, what countries, who would my roommate be, and most importantly how well would we all get along.  As I asked the questions I did what I always do – I looked to the clouds.  They have always told me what would be lying ahead and sure enough they did.  Despite the thunderstorm and the torrential rains the sun broke through and the drive was a pleasant one.  It was a matter of “arriving” at the other side of the storm.  When I did I saw two clouds, two people really, looking at each other.  They were slowly coming together and melding into one unified being.  I could feel the laughter coming off of them and so that is how I viewed this conference.  There would be controversy, disagreement on some issues, a torrent of emotions for many and in the end a coming together in understanding that all of this is really not about any of the individuals but rather trying to make a better place to live.

The drive finally came to an end and I was able to check into my room on campus.  The conference itself is at Yale University and that is where I’m staying.  In room, car parked for the week, and registered for the conference.  I was done with it all just in time for the welcoming reception to begin.  As I sat down with my non-alcoholic mojito (they made a very specific point there was no alcohol at the conference) I began to thumb through the program for the week when all of a sudden a gentleman bent down near me and said “Hello Mary.”  I was so surprised; it was Fritz Lampe, a Lutheran minister from Flagstaff, Arizona.  What was so significant about this is that Fritz was key to the Pagan students being recognized at Syracuse University.  He was the original person asked to be their adviser.  He would have loved to but unfortunately didn’t feel it was a good idea for his position as the Lutheran Chaplain on campus at the time.  It was because of that decision that the students found me and I became their adviser.  Fritz was always a friend and advocate for the recognition of the Pagans on campus and it was a joy to be able to reconnect with him.

I soon found all my other SU colleagues and off to dinner we went.  Dinner was nice, but the bonus prize was being able to connect with one of the US Air Force Academy Chaplains that is here.  I’ll talk more about that later, but it was a good start to the conference; a start that brought old friends together and reminded me of the very fragile beginnings of the Pagan presence on campus at SU.