Well, my classes at St. John's are over, for now. I received my Master of Arts in Liberal Arts on Sunday. I will miss the very stimulating discourse, but will not miss the twice-a-week round-trips to Annapolis. That was getting old, even with great listening matter in the car. St. John's has a deal whereby Graduate Institute graduates can take a fifth semester for half price. I may consider this in a year or so, but for now I'm glad to be finished.
What to do now? Derek and I have been considering building some type of center for cultural engagement in this area, perhaps affiliated with CCO and our large, well-educated and generally affluent church. Perhaps a type of hosting organization, with weekly cafe-style discussion groups, monthly visiting speakers, offshoot studies in local prisons, medical ethics discussions for local medical school, etc.
Sometimes the above seems pretty free-form, and I wonder if I have the self-discipline to stay focused and productive with such a ministry. It also doesn't explain how my wife and I will secure health insurance or income from this activity. We have built up some substantial investments, but probably not yet enough to live on. I can provide both sufficient income and also health insurance by continuing to work as an emergency physician two days a week, but my heart seems divided here. More often lately the ER is overwhelmed, the patients are hostile and demanding while a good portion of them are abusing an expensive community resource by seeking convenience care at all hours of the day and night for problems that could wait for days or weeks, or that would resolve in a few days spontaneously (like colds). There's a part of me that is simply tired of it.
With a degree in chemistry, a doctorate in medicine, and a master's in the classics I could perhaps find a teaching position in a local college. This appeals to my love of teaching. But I worry that I will find entry-level positions in academia frustratingly full of multiple-choice tests and superficial survey courses. I'd love to be a tutor at St. John's, but beside the rarity of positions there, and the doubt whether I would qualify without a PhD, there is the relocation to a very high-cost city which would break our ties with this community of twenty-five years, and completely consume a lifetime's savings just for a home.
It is odd for me to be in this position. All my life I have known what was the next step. We shall see what the Lord has in store.
In the meantime, I can start blogging again....