The initial excitement is over, the feeling of freedom has subsided (slightly), and reality has set in once again.
I finished another term at The Seattle School.
Holy shit, I really did that.
Final grades haven’t come back yet, but it’s done. I made it through. I survived.
One thing I realize is that at the end of every term, I find myself surprised by my own strength. This school, these educational programs, require a lot more than just your brain and your body; you are required to bring all of yourself. You see people showing up in pieces at first, and you slowly watch your classmates integrate every part of themselves: their bodies with their brains with their emotions with their sexuality with their theology with their therapeutic orientation and also with their peers.
You see it happening to yourself.
I’m watching it happen to myself.
and that’s the hard work: to recognize the parts of myself that I did not want mingling and then allow them to learn how to dance together, awkwardly like 7th grade students at their first dance. Maybe by the end of my life, I will have learned how to waltz with all of my Being. Right now, I think I’m at the “hands on shoulders/hips and swaying” stage… maybe.
Theologically, I’ve come to a point where I do love God; I do love Jesus; I’m enraptured by the Holy Spirit; I’m confused about how they are three in one, but I think it’s supposed to be something we don’t understand. I still don’t trust the church, and I actually don’t like the church on some levels. I think human doctrine of a Holy God misses the mark, but humanity just can’t fully allow space for mystery. We feel like we have to know what’s happening, we have to know definitions. I disagree. I choose to live into the mystery of the Divine, to have doubts, and to stand in a place theologically where I embrace surprise and wonder.
Case in point, here is an exceprt from my Theology I final:
How has your faith and/or your doubts about God shaped your study of theology?
Doubt has historically been a frightening concept for me in my faith journey. Doubt meant that you didn’t know, and to not know something about God meant that you probably weren’t saved. To say the correlation between doubt and hell was a strong bond is like saying football is king in Texas. Everyone responds with a resounding, “Duh.”
I like believing in a God that leaves room for mystery; I like that some of my questions will never be answered. I like knowing that God will not disappear with my doubts. My doubts about God have given me more space and freedom to discover the True God instead of the one-dimensional god I had always been taught. There is a sense of fearlessness in studying theology when I approach with wonder and curiosity, rather than seeking for definitive answers and morality, because I have nothing to fear. God will not disappear; most likely, God will be found in the doubt and give comfort, not necessarily answers.
So as my friends leave town to be with family, and as I imagine a Christmas without my own family for the first time, I settle on the fact that life is good. It is in no way easy, and sometimes it’s really, really not fun, but it is good.
Oh, so good.