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.


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.

Marshall Scott said...

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