There are so many things to say as I reflect back on the first half of my seminary experience. I suppose the biggest thing that has happened for me personally has been the realization that I can't throw religion away, no matter how hard I try (and I've tried!). I have figured out that religion matters to me and that it will always be part of my life and vocation. While I don't think I will ever (although never say never) describe myself with the label Christian again, I realize that the Christian tradition is the one available to me. I would feel very odd trying to put on or co-opt a different religion. Christianity is the water I swim in and the Bible is what I know. So here I am, a religious, non-christian, christian. How do you like that label? I have no idea what it means. And you know what? I actually don't need it. For so long I have had an overwhelming need to label myself, but that need is finally loosening. I am what I am and it's probably confusing, but I don't know how to be anything different. I'm slowly getting over the "embarrassment" of wanting to become a minister and hope to spend next year exploring the UU church in order to determine if I want to pursue ordination within that denomination. We'll see!
I read the Dark Night of the Soul by Gerald May this semester and recently entered into my second Spiritual Direction relationship (my first was in Spokane before leaving for Europe). These two things have opened me up and helped me understand and verbalize the realizations of the previous paragraph. I almost dropped out of seminary about 100 times last year. At this point, I'm thankful to my husband who always told me to go back and thankful for the amazing teachers that made staying worthwhile. Last year was hard in so many ways, but I'm glad I didn't give up. I have learned so much and been changed yet again. I have settled on belief in mystery and the mysteries of life, death, compassion, love.... This list could go on. Existence itself is holy and continues to draw me into contemplation of the sacred.
The next four posts have some of my work from this semester. It's a lot...happy reading!