First of all I am spending way too much money. Somebody stop me. It's the food, man, the food! I just keep eating. It's like I have to eat to live or something. Dang it.
Oh, J made the most incredible scallops for dinner, with rice and zucchini. That was homemade. I'm a lucky girl.
I could afford more food if I didn't keep feeding my friends (and especially giving them alcohol). But I like doing that. Curse my hospitable ways!
If you couldn't tell, J and I did a bottle of wine tonight so I'm just a little buzzed.
Anyway the point of the writing is to say hey I'm just about terrified for my philosophy class that starts tomorrow! 2 weeks of sheer confusion! What fun this will be!
J keeps saying that the fact I've read some of the book and actually understood it makes me smarter than most of the people. I don't care, I'm still gonna feel stupid. I've not taken philosophy since undergrad and I have literally no memory of it, except that I think the first day they announced our prof was having a heart attack so we were getting a new prof. That's all I remember. Oh, and the watchmaker proof of God. I'm sure there was more, it's just slipped my mind.
Speaking of undergrad, did you know that my favorite classes outside my major (in which I didn't do all that well anyway) were geology and anthropology? Weird, huh. Well, it's not all that weird, because as I tell people about what I want to study for a PhD I'm hearing a lot about anthropology as the field I'm talking about. Interesting. Things circle around.
I've been reading abour hermeneutical circles until I'm stupified. Weird-o. At least at home we talk about philosophy a lot. Surely I've picked up something from osmosis. I've got J reading the chapters right now so we can talk about it. He tricked me into this class because he wanted the books, so his punishment is to help me.
Anyway, here's a funny thing. I'm on a total roller coaster ride about the PhD. Lots of you are in programs and maybe you can identify; I had a great dinner with a friend who went through it and she affirmed all my crazy mixed-up feelings. Thank God. So every few days (or hours, depending) I think I'm completely nuts for trying to attempt this. Taking the GRE alone should be stopping me in my tracks. And I'm thinking I'm going to apply for all these places, and find recommenders?
And then I get emails from people who are basically telling me I'm completely unprepared and/or need to figure out what I want and/or I just don't fit their program. Some places that shall remain nameless have been really snobby. And I feel all shitty and decide I'm going to chuck it all and sit on my couch the rest of my life.
And then I will get an email from somebody who loves my idea and the whole thing starts over. I got great emails from people at NYU (performance studies) and IU (anthropology) and a tiny place in Canada called Wilfred Laurier (ritual studies). They are really exciting programs and the people are excited about me, which then makes me turn around and think maybe it won't be so bad. Every time I'm about to give up I get one of these messages - buck up, little girl, you're on to something here with this food thing.
Some people really get it, you know? They love it, too, the people who get a sense of what I want to study, what I hope to tell the world. And every now and then I get this really sure sense deep down that God wants me to tell everybody something really important, something about their connection to him and to the creation that is such an amazing gift, and how She feeds us with it – and with Her, really. It’s a deep thought. There’s so much to think about.
But then I get scared or I wonder do I need the PhD or should I just start writing. Will anybody listen?
Here’s another really weird thing. You know I’ve basically given up on the whole ordination thing. I decided that my church is not really all that into it, and I should just wait and someday maybe it will happen. Since I trust the process I don’t want to push things. I feel like I’ve done what I could and it’s time to let go. I’ve prayed that I could let go.
Today in church somebody was talking about Canon 9, which I guess is the rule that lets people who haven’t been to seminary go straight to ordination because their calling is evident. I was kind of half listening, but I often tune out a bit during ordination conversations because they are frankly pretty disheartening. What is really really sweet is that J said he was sitting there feeling simply awful for me. Didn’t want me to hear it. He said, “You are so clearly called to be a priest. Everybody who knows you knows it! I know it more than anything. And I was so sad when they were talking about it right in front of you.” He wanted to yell at them to open their eyes and see me. See me.
Well, what he didn’t know is that after church, totally out of the blue, the priest grabbed me and after we discussed the service (why one hymn didn’t work – wrong tempo – and why he shouldn’t have made a comment he did – I had to call him on it) he asked me what was up with my ordination process. And I said well nothing, basically, because I’ve done what I can and I’m waiting on affirmation from you or the congregation, and I figured you guys weren’t that into it, so I figured this might not be the right church to do it with. And he asked if I meant the Episcopal church and I said no, I meant St. B’s. And he said that he had a meeting with the bishop this week about another matter and he wanted to tell him about me, but he wanted to check and make sure he wasn’t moving too fast for me.
Too fast, people.
I’m not getting excited, I’m not letting myself. I simply said that yes, it would be fine – that in fact it would be an answer to much prayer and I’d be thrilled if he’d like to say something. I told him that I’d been told it wouldn’t work well if he wasn’t that excited about me (and I know he’s not that into the hierarchy and the institution). He said that was true, but he is excited about ME, and he doesn’t mind walking through the process with someone he’s excited about.
Well, if that wasn’t about the most surprising conversation, like, ever. J said I finally passed his Zen test – I finally stopped asking for it, stopped wanting it, and lo and behold…
Who knows. I am glad, I will admit it. I am humbled that he wants to go directly to the bishop about me. I’m really glad that he was thankful for my ministry – for what I said to him about the service, and for what he’s seen me do there. It’s such an affirmation.
So we got home, and I told J, and he was really happy. And that’s when he told me all about how he knew that is what I should be, a priest. That actually I already am. Or so he says.
It’s funny – I had decided ordination was a dead end, so I would try the PhD thing. I can get ordained later. Now I wonder if I should wait on the PhD and follow what happens with ordination. I can always do it later. I don’t know. I do know that when I told J the story, and when I said out loud that I could stay here and work towards ordination and maybe work in a church or campus ministry or something, I felt this massive weight lift off me.
Now part of that is the stress and fear about living up to the GRE and the PhD applications and all that. But most of it, I think, is that this thing that’s weighed on me for over four years now might actually be moving forward. But getting ahead of myself is painful, so I won’t. But weird, huh?
Anyway, J is almost done w/my essay, so we’ll talk soon about hermeneutical circles and the relativity of everything and how there is no getting outside the book (you Derrida fans feeling me?). I’m actually really digging this stuff. I know as a good Christian I’m not supposed to go in for all this relative truth, but it’s awfully well explained and makes a lot of sense, considering what I’ve seen in, say, interfaith dialogue alone. The embeddedness of all of us, man. It’s really there.
So there’s a lot to chew on. Thank God I’m going into a 2-week intensive and won’t have time for chewing on anything but Heidigger, Gadamer and Derrida. Whew. Good times.
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Reading this post, I suddenly realized why I have to read every part of every post whenever you blog... You remind me so much of one of my college roommates, Rebecca. She is one of the people I admire most in the world and she happens to be an ordained Wesleyan pastor working in a Vineyard Church right now. She always has great ideas and is very passionate about the things she believes are important. It's infectious (in the best sense of the word). Keep holding steady. I'm sure God won't leave you hanging.
Bless you, Beloved. I've told you before you can trust in the Spirit to lead you, as long as you're open (and I keep reading how you're open). As I say when educating new volunteers to work with patients: listen for the Spirit and trust your gut.
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