Sunday, February 03, 2008

What a week

This week is gonna be craaaazy. Not only do I have to figure out who to vote for by Tuesday (Obama's got the edge at this moment), but that evening Jim Wallis will be at Fuller for a very small gathering with students. Friday there's a panel discussion about "Islamaphobia" at Fuller too - not only a really interesting topic, but a good stretch for a Christian seminary. I wonder who'll show up...I hope it doesn't seem irrelevant to students. It's not exactly a topic that doesn't touch everybody's life these days, in one way or another.

Wednesday I have a midterm that will be extremely difficult, but in light of everything else going on, I'm kind of "meh" about it. My at-home class has actually gotten very demanding all of a sudden. But I'm not really that stressed about it. Want to know why?

Well Saturday I got one of those magic envelopes, a letter with a return address from GTU. It was thin and small, which was worrisome (yes, I recently watched "Gilmore Girls"). Upon reading it, I did not see the words "We are pleased to inform..." or the words "We regret to inform..." (again Gilmore influence), so I was momentarily confused. But after getting to the end of the first paragraph, I figured out from the rather muddled language that they had, in fact, accepted me to the doctoral program. Wow! A doctorate in liturgical studies - and they actually think I can do it! I mean, I think I can, but I didn't really know if other people would agree. It's very affirming. Not to mention damn exciting. I mean, when I visited there, I felt so at home - it shot to the top of my choices. Since then I've been through lots of second-guessing, especially in light of impending mommyhood, but it's great to know that they felt the same about me that I did about them.

Of course my first thought was OK, how would I pay for this, because everybody knows GTU doesn't have much money and doesn't guarantee funding to doctoral students. The student I met while visiting was doing loans and working (a lot), and I just can't see doing more debt after we're already in the hole for both of our masters' (we're in the hole the amount of a house in the Midwest, people - it's not pretty). But then I read paragraph 2: they are giving me full tuition + stipend. 'Scuse me? I thought that didn't happen there! But yet, it's here in black and white, and I know because I've reread it about a hundred times. I guess they really want me. I guess God answers prayers. Because I'd told God that without full aid I couldn't go there, that it wouldn't even be in the equation. Equation is now altered.

I still have to wait for a final vetting from UC Berkeley, and I want to see where else I get in, if anywhere (although GTU could very well want my decision before I even hear from Fuller, seeing how they don't give decisions until April!). There's also the terrifying matter of finding a place to live in Berkeley or the surrounding area - and not just any place, but one close to campus (because I'm not doing a long commute with a newborn at home waiting for me - I won't do it), that takes cats, probably that has 2 bedrooms or at least has a pretty spacious one bedroom (since we're 5 in the family now), and God, as long as miracles are coming my way, a washer/dryer for cloth diapers/spitup rags would be pretty darn awesome, not to mention a dishwasher for bottles. And oh yeah, if I'm dreaming, room to actually cook and entertain again (I miss being a hostess so much), and a tub for me and to wash baby when she's bigger. I think that would probably cover my dream place to live. I don't think it sounds all that obnoxious, except when one considers where I'd be looking for such a palace. Still, the scholarship was such a gift, it makes it hard not to believe God could pull it off.

Last week I was thinking about what it would be like to be in a community of Episcopalians. To not be the odd person out but to actually live in a culture where I was the happy middle. Where I could fight people from my conservative viewpoints (yes, I have them!). Where prayers and worship, in our tradition, would happen without my having to organize them. I could just show up! And they'd be going on! I mean, Fuller has been really wonderful in a lot of ways: it's been challenging, and it's been rewarding. I have made friends across the theological spectrum, friends for life. I have been told that I've dramatically changed other people's viewpoints, and they have touched mine too. It's been fun to be a gadfly and a heretic.

But it's also tiring. And in some ways, to be around "my own" people - as tribalist as that sounds, it's probably not very PC - but in some ways it seems like it would be such a relief. Of course it would still be challenging, and I'm never giving up my gadfly status, or likely my heretic status. But still, it seems like it would be so nice. I so loved the community up there. And even outside the GTU - I mean, the Berkeley community, they were amazing too. It just seems like we'd be so happy and at home there. I really felt that way before. I didn't even want J to see it unless I got in, because I knew he'd love it so much.

Well anyway I mostly just wanted to share the news. Nothing's decided yet (on my end at least!), but it was awfully wonderful to open that magic envelope.

2 comments:

M.J. said...

Congrats girl on the amazing news! I was at Berkeley last night listening to Francis Collins on genetics and it was great. God's make provision so far, God will continue to make provisions. I hope your wishes and expectations of GTU and community are all you desire.
Jeanette

Marshall said...

Well, I haven't looked in in a while, but I'm glad I found this. This sounds very exciting! Blessings, and wisdom!