Well, making coffee shouldn’t be this hard. But this morning it sure was!
It took three attempts to finally be successful at having my coffee. The first time I put milk in it separated. “Oh, great!,” I think to myself. The milk in the bag has gone bad. I make a second attempt with another bag of milk. It has spoiled too. I breathe a deep sigh of frustration. My wife, Karen, seeing this says, “Darling, what an awful way to begin your day!” She reaches into the fridge, finding a small container of cream. I discover it’s okay. I breathe a prayer of thanks to God, for being able to at last have my coffee.
I have finally got the opportunity to drink my first cup of coffee. I think about that wise advice. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.“ Don’t give up on achieving your goals. The first, second, third and fourth time you may not reach them, but don’t give up.
You never know. That fifth time may be the time you reach your goal.
It took me 13 years to get my Bachelor of Theology degree. There were so many times I was tempted to give up, especially when I saw some of my friends enjoying themselves. Then, while I was working as in-house security at a luxury condominium a Jewish woman, who I had come to respect for her wisdom, asked me what I was studying. I said with weariness in my voice, “Theology.” She said, “Why are you studying that?” I replied, “Because I believe God is calling me into the ministry, but it’s taking so long. Some of my friends are having fun while I’m studying. I don’t know if I will ever be able to reach my goal.“ The kind woman smiled and said, “Kevin, don’t give up. One day those friends who wasted their time and didn’t further their education, will live to regret it.”
My spirit felt so uplifted! I pressed on. I kept working away at my studies until in June 1997, I graduated with my Bachelor of Theology degree with honours from Canada Christian College & Graduate School in Toronto. I never thought it would happen, but there I was going up to Dr. Charles McVety, the President of Canada Christian College & Graduate School, to receive my degree. Little did I know then, that I would be accepted into Trinity College in the University of Toronto in 2005, for graduate divinity studies.
I will never forget the ear-to-ear smile on Dr. McVety when he gave me my degree. The Lord moved upon my heart to complete my Bachelor of Theology degree there. I was wonderfully shocked when in a meeting with Dr. McVety, he said my studies at then Ontario Bible College (now Tyndale University) and The Salvation Army William & Catherine Booth Memorial College in Toronto, was the equivalent of 96 credit hours out of 120 required for my degree.
Undiagnosed illness resulted in me having to take a long medical leave of absence from my studies at Trinity College. I had to be intubated seven times in Toronto between 2008-2009 and two more times beyond that. In 2014 I was diagnosed with systemic mastocytosis through a skin biopsy, and having no less than 47 of the 58 symptoms members of the Mastocytosis Society of Canada report. Karen calls this disease allergy on steroids. I tell people it’s a neighbourhood block party out of control. My doctor says my form of mastocytosis may only be seen in 1 in 400 people in the world. Scientists think it may be a result of something missing in the genetic DNA structure of the cells, particularly those which regulate the functioning of your immune system. It is an auto immune disease in which there are too many mast (immune & systemic) cells.
I haven’t given up.There is hope.On treatment with mast cell stabilizers and immune system boosters my health is improving. I still have as a goal to continue my studies with Trinity College. I am thankful that Rev. Dr. David Neelands is the Dean of Divinity there. He has always been such a kind encourager and prayerfully supportive of my call to the ministry.
In January of 2014 I enrolled as a student at St. james the Elder Theological Seminary in their M.A. program majoring in Christian Clinical Counselling. Recently, I graduated with my M.A. magna cum laude.
I am now working on another M.A., this one in Applied Theology majoring in Psychology with a Christian world view. Then, it`s on to my doctoral studies in Applied Theology majoring in Psychology with a Christian world view.
I believe God is calling me to be a priest, psychologist, chaplain and professor. I am thankful for the mentoring I am receiving from Patriarch Heyward Bruce Ewart, who is the leader of Holy Catholic Church International, along with Co-Patriarch William Boyd. Patriarch Paul, as we call him, is also the President of St. James The Elder Theological Seminary. I am also receiving guidance from Cardinal William Malloy, who is Chief Advisor to the Patriarch and Dean of Clergy Formation. .
I hope through the sharing of some of my life I will inspire you not to give up on your dreams.
I wouldn`t recommend making three attempts to have your coffee. That`s just too rough on a person.
If at first you don`t succeed, try, try again.
I hope I will always remember that wise counsel.
I pray you will too.
Karen Osborne B.A. Christian Clinical Counseling St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, graduate divinity student at Trinity College University of Toronto. Kevin Osborne, B. Th. Canada Christian College & Graduate School. B.A., M.A. Christian Clinical Counseling, M.A-Th.D. Applied Theology student majoring in Psychology St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, D.D., D. sc., Diplomate in Traumatology American Board of Traumatology Examiners of St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, Diplomate in Creative Ministry St. James the Elder Theological Seminary. Kevin Osborne is a member of The Word Guild, which is a Christian writer’s group that invites membership all around the world. Please go to https://thewordguild.com for further information.