The Spring semester at MTSO started on Monday. I always enjoy talking with new students, hearing about their journeys and what led them to this place. Hearing the ways in which God has been at work in them helps me clarify the ways in which God has been at work in my own life and gives me pause to consider where I have come from and where I am going.
Yesterday one of my friends posted the following to her facebook status: “Today is my last first day of school ever.” It made many of us laugh because we know it is very likely that this woman will continue her education in a doctoral program sometime in the future. However, she made the point that for her, yesterday marked the beginning of the end of this leg of her journey. I could post the same comment today – Wednesday, February 3, 2010 – as it marks the beginning of my last semester in seminary. There have been times along the way when I have wondered if this day would ever come … but here we are! It is both exciting and scary. I am excited for the opportunity to learn and engage with my colleagues and professors, but it is also a little scary to think that this will be my last time to do this. Sure, I will probably continue my education, too, but this is my last time to do this in this particular place and degree program. It’s a bittersweet moment.
The members of my congregation and I have experienced some bittersweet moments like this recently, too. As we anticipate my commissioning and move back to Indiana at the end of June, we realize some of the “lasts” in our shared ministry – my last Christmas a few weeks ago; my last Lenten season starting in a few weeks; my last Easter sunrise service with them, etc. If I dwell on these things too much, though, it can become overwhelming and depressing. I have decided instead to embrace the joy of these moments and make the most of our time together.
And that is what I am going to do with this last semester of seminary, too. I plan to savor this time – to fully embrace and engage in this opportunity for learning and transformation. I am really excited about my classes this semester: Race, Gender and Power in the Hebrew Bible on Thursday mornings; The Problem of Evil on Thursday afternoons; and Christian Social Ethics on Thursday nights. Yes, Thursdays will be long – but good – days. The content of these courses speak to similar issues and I am anxious to integrate them. I am also auditing Spiritual Autobiography in the Wesleyan Tradition on Wednesday afternoon – hence the reason I can call today the “last first day of school.” I am looking forward to this class, too, as I continue to hone my writing skills and contemplate my sacred story.
I look forward to sharing this “last” semester experience here on my blog. (And for those who know I have been counting down the days until graduation – we’re down to 107!! Woo!) Until next time, peace …