Possibly the hardest aspect of going to seminary at my stage in life is that you are responsible for so many OTHER things in a way that you simply aren't as a young adult. I was about to start college when my first stepmother died; it would never have occurred to anyone, least of all me, that her unexpected death might alter my plans. In the last couple of years, three friends and acquaintances in my age group have died, and another is desperately ill; their children's college and new-job lives continue. As is, of course, the wish of their parents.
But when you are the parent, or the middle-aged adult child, it's another story entirely. I am very aware of the potential for disaster to arise on any number of fronts, and of the reality that there's not a thing I can do about it. Among my close group of friends, several of us have just in the past couple of years rearranged our lives for considerable periods of time in order to care for ill or dying parents. At this exact moment I am , like pretty much every one of my close friends, juggling major concerns that have little or nothing to do with seminary. One of the young men in my class said to me the other day, "If Greek is the biggest challenge you face in seminary, you've got it made."
He has no idea.
Of course, I'm not alone. I am slowly getting to know some of the other older students, and most are balancing plates that would take no more than the slightest of nudges to shatter out of control.
And I came home this week-end to a taste of the precariousness of that balance: a dog who is suddenly and out of the blue so sick that I can only wonder that she is still alive. Most of yesterday morning was devoted to the vet and a dog bath, but to no avail; we cannot clean up the messes fast enough. I have had almost no sleep; I had an 8:15 church meeting this morning and came home immediately thereafter to collapse into a nap. I feel terrible about leaving tonight, terrible for the dog and terrible for the husband who will be on solo duty tonight and will have to take her back in to the vet tomorrow. (Terrible especially for the husband with respect to the endless clean-up; it seems that this is one of those situations where my complete lack of a sense of smell is a great boon.)
I will be back on Wednesday, and I am afraid I will be returning to a Terrible Decision, if it has not already made itself.
5:00 Postscript: Le chien got so dehydrated that I ended up dedicating most of the afternoon to the Emergency Vet Clinic. She's there for a couple of days of fluids and tests; initial results indicate that her vital organs are functioning beautifully and no explanation for her symptoms may be forthcoming.
Bill: Astronomical. Peace of Mind: Not Yet. Greek Verbs: Not Yet Either.
Well, THAT was a great week-end.