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The changes of creation and myself

This week, I’ve been thinking that I’ll only take two seminary classes next quarter, instead of the three that I’ve done for the past two quarters. I can manage the work but all the separate pieces are like a large bucket of bolts shaking in my mind all the time. As a friend told me, just because I can juggle that much work doesn’t mean I should. 

To complicate things, I’m also applying to be a sub for our local elementary school. I told them it could only be one or two days a week, but it is a way I can help. (It’s possible that your local schools need subs too if you are available.) Life shifts. Everything, in some way, is constantly changing. I’m noticing that and naming it in hopes of the changing surprising me less. It often makes me feel like I’ve done something wrong when I can’t continue in one same path like the Energizer Bunny. But it shouldn’t. I’m a creation, not a machine. 

Creation goes dormant and then bursts into bloom. Creation endures dry seasons and rainy seasons, has mountain peaks and low valleys, has times of harvest and times of fallow ground. Creation is interdependent, in motion, usually surprising, always worth noticing. 

I read an autobiography of Lamin Sanneh for class over the weekend. I still have to write a critical reflection on it which I should probably be doing instead of this, but I’ve found it’s important for me to chase these threads. His story is one of stumbling into his work because of rejection and closed doors and opportunities that seemed unrelated to his goal at the time. He persisted despite all the unexpected, despite the constant shift. I noticed that same theme after reading Eugene Peterson’s biography. They stepped into what their life became one day after the next. There was no big arrival, just much persistence and rejection and unnoticed work. Problems and resistance made them curious instead of making them quit. 

I’ve entered the phase of seminary where it seems that it will never end. I’ve been working for two years and there is still a pile of work ahead of me. It is a gift; it is also a burden. There’s a desire to work hard and fast to get the work done and there is also a need to live well while I’m doing the work because this is my life. My life doesn’t arrive at some set point in the future but is unfolding and I am to participate now. Seminary is not a race. Life is not a competition.

It won’t be the same the whole way through and I can’t expect it to be. Nothing else is either: not parenting, not friendships, nothing. Much of 2021 I took only one class. I could only take one class because I was homeschooling three children and also had a toddler and we were quarantining during a pandemic. It took all I had to do what I was doing. I’ve taken three classes and it’s been a breath of fresh air, a sprint after the second wind of a new schedule and a new place. Now I want to run well while I’m here, in school, in our lives, in our own community. 

I’m not a machine. I don’t repeat one action over and over, endlessly, until I am useful for nothing. I exist because of the joy and love of a Creator. He made a world with day and night and dusk and dawn, fog and snow and hot sunshine. Life shifts and I’m learning to listen. I am learning to be a creature despite the world’s insistence that I am a machine. 

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