This morning, I finally felt a prompting to call my supervisor in Toronto and tell him about my decision regarding the PhD.
John Portelli has always been an amazing supervisor – a poet, scholar, revolutionary, educator and a man of faith (he is a devout Catholic from Malta). Even before I spoke with him, I had already known what kind of a response he would give. True to my understanding of him, he was understanding and encouraging and supportive of my decision.
He said he has to express a sense of pity that a capable student so close to finishing a PhD has decided not to go through with it. But he completely understands my position and he thinks it is important that I do what I believe I need to do. He did suggest that I could take a leave of absence (a suggestion my father also gave me) so that a door is left open should I decide to come back at some point to finish my PhD – even if it is a brand new topic like Augustine’s spirituality in education (Yes, he knows how to sell a point. ha ha).
I am quite certain my future will not be in academia, and that at this point in time, I should not be doing this PhD. But I feel at peace with taking a leave of absence since it does not commit me to anything, and would only let me be even more certain at a future date should I decide to terminate my studies. Who knows? Perhaps in the following year I might discover a topic I love in my ministry work that can be used to complete a Philosophy of Education PhD? And who knows what creative ways God might use such a PhD in my life – ways I cannot dream up on my own?
I am thankful that God gave me John Portelli as my supervisor. God knew before I even imagined such a day would come, that I would choose to leave my studies to serve Him in ministry. And He gave me the one professor in possibly all of OISE/UT that would understand and support my decision. Isn’t God amazing?