Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Sewanee Moon: October 12, 2016

Just a few simple moon photos from this cool, crisp FALL evening! (YAY actual Fall!). The second one has Picasa's "inverted colors" and I liked it b/c it really highlights the craters.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Life is Brilliant!

So....where to begin....?!
It must be midterms, HA! #SeminaryLife 
Since the last time I've written, I have traveled a bit, seen some terrific friends, attended a glorious wedding, survived two midterms (well, pending one grade return!) Summer has gone and Fall is turning, there's a refreshing chill in the breeze, and light fades earlier.
Sewanee hosted the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, as the 2016 DuBose lecturer and I got to work on the social media team. I live-tweeted each lecture, got to meet Rowan Williams, and got to know a few of my colleagues a little better. They are amazing and talented folks! We had a few "reading days" surrounding the lecture days where we could catch up on work and study while also on sleep and other "life things". The whole week was a fantastic experience!
Despite all the goodness, the past week was hard. I wasn't sleeping well, the attempts at staying up late into the night for extra studying failed, and I had taken two whirlwind trips which set up a joyful juxtaposition with varying friends and walks of life that made me a little homesick when I left each place (St. Louis and New Orleans.)
I also had several distinct opportunities to observe people and their behaviors as well as examining my own. I have learned a ton in the "School of Life". Body language, habits, schmoozing, happy reunions, cheerful banter, gossip, assumptions, and forgetfulness. I witnessed chauvinism AND chivalry, basically life. I am an E/I-NFJ personality, but the 'I' was emphasized to the extreme, especially at the DuBose dinner/dance. For a 45-year old, I felt very nervous and back to college days....or even high school prom days. Pretty much, the only such upscale affairs I've attended since then have been concerts etc. at which I've been singing or conducting. Even though I am almost always a positive person and many times a confident one, I found myself nervous.......usually, I love it! It was rather petty of me, but I felt woefully underdressed - my shoes were the simple ones I wear daily, my purse a disaster, tearing at the strap, and I hadn't even noticed that one flutter of my dress was actually torn (and I'd never had it fixed). My hair was a mess. I was a mess, but it didn't matter in the end. Thank goodness for positive and encouraging people taking the time out for conversation, for new friends, and for fun professors! I was eventually very glad that I attended :-)
The daily stresses peaked last Thursday when our class had a midterm. Afterwards, virtually everyone disappeared and the quietness was overwhelming. I couldn't even find any dogs to pet along the way home! 
Images of high school again flashed back to me. I remember standing near the buses, waiting for my ride home and how starkly deserted the school was. I remember feeling sad that I had to go home for an entire weekend. I loved school. I love school again now and it was striking to me that after all the energy of the week was over, I felt that same way for a whole two days (Thurs and Fri). I recognized it though and consciously joined friends for lunch. Later, I attended Thursday's Community Eucharist and though I was the only single person there, I still automatically felt better just being around people and wow, their kids made a huge difference! There was actually a great feeling of community (good for a community Eucharist, eh?) Friday evening, I attended a neighbor's Compline & Wine (and a hilarious run of Cards Against Humanity).The group was about 18 people and lots of fun. 
The next day, I thought a great deal about why I had felt so oddly listless and foreboding about the coming weekend. After all, I needed rest and I needed sleep. I also needed to catch up on readings. I have not ever felt homesickness in my entire life so......why now?

I think it has to do with the fact that I live by myself and it was the sudden and overly-pronounced thought of facing a whole weekend alone, without people - this was what I wasn't looking forward to. Over my solitary years, that has indeed arisen every now and then. There was no specific longing for another place/home. Not seeking pity, folks, nope. It's just a fact of life that we are happy or bored or saddened or up or down at various times in our lives. It happened a great deal when I lived in Milledgeville. This feeling happened occasionally in New Orleans as well. It was always a little funny to me because on random other weekends, and truthfully, MOST of them, I relished having down time to myself after a busy week. Even THIS past weekend ended up being JUST what I needed: time alone to think, recharge, do errands, sleep, read, finish homework, dream, and ponder life etc. 

So, this weekend, I did those things: slept in, did errands, straightened up a bit, cooked, played with Bluebell, took a NAP, and somehow managed to do ALL of my reading for the entire week so I may now focus solely on my paper for Church History and the regular events coming up! YAY! I also reminded myself how thankful I am to be here in this gorgeous place with all of the new friends, professors, and learning experiences! 
Life is SO SHORT - one needs to always live it to the fullest. What I continue to learn is that sometimes, living life to the fullest includes resting and time for self, even if you already live alone. Also, while I am comfortable with myself and I like living by myself, it doesn't preclude a natural slump every now and then. Recognizing that and that it is normal is as important as reaching out to others when you need to do so.
Life is brilliant! :-)

Look down, Lord, from your heavenly throne...

Look down, Lord, from your heavenly throne. Illuminate the darkness of this night with your celestial brightness, and from us, the children of light, banish for ever the deeds of darkness. God our judge and our teacher, let us not waste time when the day is done in guilt or self-reproach. Give us rather the courage to face whatever has been, accept forgiveness, and move on to something better. Amen. 
(from the New Zealand Prayer Book)