I was so tired of every single day being so damn hard, and the first day back at seminary was another in that long line of days. There were wonderful hugs from people who literally held my hand and put their arms around me when I needed those things ~ when, for instance, a classroom lecture veered into the appallingly insensitive. But there was also that carelessness on the part of a few individuals, there were some of those astounding remarks people make about God's will that tell you that they would be better employed elsewhere, there was my own effort not to suck up all the air in the room in the two small discussion classes in which we introduced ourselves to one another. There was the reality that again and again and again the burden was on me to take the initiative, to be straightforward and open so that others would know that they can be, too.
And then the second day was ~ finally, amazingly, after three months ~a day that might be called a good day. Administrators and faculty put their heads together and put a lot of time into coming up with a creative and generous resolution to some of the scheduling problems created by my having missed a quarter. A faculty member sat down and listened for half an hour, and another walked out of his classroom to give me a hug. A stack of poems arrived by email from Georgetown: Maybe these will help you. And that was all before lunch.
I made it. I made it through all my classes and two lunches and a dinner and some well-meaning but poorly conceived conversations and some wonderful but exhausting conversations. And I sat down afterward and thought: I had no idea whether I should try to go back, no idea whether there was any future for me in ministry or anywhere at all. And now, thanks to countless people who in one form or another said, "We're so glad you're back ~ let's see what we can do to help" ~ now I think that possibly the answer to those questions is something like yes.
So. I'm going back for another try, maybe one that will be a little less tentative, next week.