The transition from life as a student at The Seattle School to that of an alumnus is an important season for each graduating student. The years spent at The Seattle School are formative for each student in their own way, and commencement is a time to both mark endings and celebrate new beginnings. Lauree Fletcher, a 4th year MACP student graduating in June, decided to mark this transition with The Seattle School’s pilgrimage to Iona, led by Dr. Roy Barsness, Professor of Counseling Psychology. Below, Lauree reflects on ending her time at The Seattle School and the significance of her recent journey to Iona, a Christian site visited by pilgrims for centuries.
Done. All requirements met. I struggled all throughout the first half of spring term with what “being finished” would mean for me. I was so ready to be done.
And yet, something stirred those tranquil waters and called me to look more deeply and listen to the desire of my heart. I wanted—desperately longed—to join the pilgrimage to Iona with Roy Barsness, but that would require summer term. Could that be what I needed to fill that desperate longing? And then I remembered how much I wanted to take the class “Yearnings” with Christie Lynk, a class which many take as their last course at The Seattle School.
With these realizations, my hope for transitioning and ending well soon began to flourish, along with something more—a sense of ambivalence, uncertainty, fear, and a question of logic. Were these enemies of my dream or invitations to step out—to venture farther up and further in? I wondered.
In the end, I chose to enter desire and allow myself to end well. Iona it would be, with a week visiting dear friends in Northern Ireland to sweeten the pot!
Perhaps some of my musings during this beautiful transition will resonate with you.
Friday, April 18th, Ballymartin, Northern Ireland, the wee hours of the morning
Good Friday—just—even here in Northern Ireland. Still Thursday by my body’s recollection. I’m in the in-between—in the thin space between realms, still between the triumphant entry and the ultimate betrayal. Even in this place—this physical, geographical space—I am drawn to recognize, to truly see the space of the in-between.
This is the space where even St. Columba was forced to move from the place of triumphal entry and popularity with the masses in Ireland into the change of tide that would herald the beginning of rejection, the shaking of foundations, and the persecution that would banish him from his home and drive him out—out to establish a place of refuge on the Isle of Iona.
Iona—a hard fought thin place where realms meet and intersect and transformation flourishes. A place where I, too, will enter to call forth the intermingling of realms—where I will dare to actually show up in the glory of my own beautifully broken humanity and call for heaven to come down, where I will be seen and realized by all those my life would touch here on earth.
Holy Trinity, meet the need of today and each day, always in fresh ways that demonstrate Your effervescing creativity.
As I continued to journal and process my journey, my words turned to prayer and my desire to show up and live mystery.
Saturday, April 26th, Glasgow, Scotland, preparing to leave for Iona
Open my understanding, Lord, to live in the in-between, pulling heaven into the needy hearts, minds, and actions—the thin places of our lives—here and now and yet to come. We need to know—to experience on every level of our being—Your Presence, Your Love, and Your battling, standing, and grieving on our behalf. We need to know it so tangibly that we can live in it and in turn be Your intercessory envoys here—in this world, this time, and the place where You have placed us.
So be it.
I am filled with gratitude for this amazing gift of completion, of transition, and of knowing that I am ending well and honoring my heart so beautifully.