I am apprehensive and not a little envious and and a tiny bit resentful. When Josephine writes about her seminary experience, it sounds as joyful and filled with community and energy and delight as one might possibly hope for. (Her retreat sounded ideal, as well. Sigh.) I see on FB that the folks already back at my school for this past orientation week are similarly filled with exuberant anticipation. (Except for possibly one, who did not elaborate on a surprisingly (for FB) dark note.) Those would be the folks who, with only four or five exceptions, have never mentioned my son to me, or the reason I was not back in school a year ago at this time.
I was like them two years ago, but my life has changed. And there is nothing to do but endure it. Sometimes people ask me how I survive and the answer apparently is: like this. You do the next thing. You cannot wait for joy, or energy, because they are as elusive as the wind. You do the next thing, and you hope, in a reluctant sort of way, that someday things like energy and joy will return in some new and as yet unimagined form.
It's not that there aren't things to look forward to. I have some wonderful friends at school and tomorrow we'll be in class and chapel together and then at least a couple of us, behind the 8-ball for different reasons, will spend lunch discussing our field education assignments. I'm eager to study Church and Sacraments and grateful that one of our most outstanding professors teaches it. In another day I'll be in conversation about the new spiritual direction program just underway, on the advisory board of which I serve. And perhaps, with no chores beckoning, I will settle into Hebrew once again.
But I know that my experience of all those things differs in fundamental ways from that of all my classmates and professors. In some ways my perspective is off-balance; in others, more on target than ever before. Essentially, I feel completely alone. I plan to do a lot of listening and little talking this year ~ which is always a good thing, I suppose.
Today's reading from the PC(USA) website seems particularly apt for someone beset by the enemies which plague me, someone invisibly fighting her way through brambles and swamps:
Give ear to my words, O LORD;
give heed to my sighing.
2 Listen to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
3 O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.
4 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil will not sojourn with you.
8 Lead me, O LORD,
in your righteousness because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me.
9 For there is no truth in their mouths;
their hearts are destruction . . . .