Last week I shared applying to Loyola University for the academic portion of my training to become a hospital chaplain. But I didn’t share the volcano of emotions around completing a graduate school application in four days; making phone calls, sending emails and gratefully thanking clergy who stopped their Christmas preparations to instantly write references and unearthing transcripts. YIKES! It’s been 40 years since I graduated from UCLA and requesting an immediate, official transcript required , establishing a MYUCLA portal with my student ID number; really, my ID number from 1976? I had to fax a copy of my passport, proving I am who I claim to be. Anyway, to expedite the delivery, I paid $40 (FEDEX, shipping and UCLA, handling fee). One down.
I possessed an unofficial transcript from my MBA, and Loyola was willing to accept it for the moment but the official was needed. The request form required a number which was unknown to me. So I called, left a message, holding the request which they would receive only by snail mail. I received a call from the Registrar telling me that number was only required of people who graduated after 2000. UGH! Two days later I received another call from the same woman informing me that the computers were down and she couldn’t retrieve my transcript. But they were working on it and she thought all would be well in a day or so. Sigh.
In reviewing the required documents I discovered academic work for non-degree work was also requested. This would include course towards a masters I had taken in NJ. Their request form required a payment but they didn’t take credit cards or checks. I needed to set up a FEDEX account and send them the number. FEDEX was having problems with their computers and wouldn’t accept my credit card online so I had to call them. After talking with the third representative, I received an account number. I faxed in the request, only to receive a call the next day stating the account number was invalid. Calmly, I asked the woman to read the number back to me, it was incorrect. She said she couldn’t read my handwriting. Unbelievable!
It’s Christmas, so I’ve stopped to reflect on the challenges Mary and Joseph endured: Mary’s unexpected and culturally unacceptable pregnancy; Joseph’s decision to marry her; a trip to Bethlehem to pay taxes; and no room to birth the Christ child but in a smelly, cold, hopefully dry stable. Reality check, Toni! You can do this girlfriend! And if this this the path for you (I love talking to myself), it will all come together.
The Prince of Peace has been born unto us and like Mary and Joseph I’m going to draw strength from that peace for the journey that lies before me.