When a heart breaks, it don’t break even

The title of this post is from a great song by a new Irish band called the Script.

I find myself singing it a lot lately. Not only is a catchy song, but it’s so true that when a relationship breaks one party always hurts more.  All kinds of relationships get broken and changed when endings and beginnings come around. It’s a chance to start over, let go of some things, embrace others. Redefine who you are and start with a blank slate. I’ve read that the Methodist faith has a requirement that its pastors move often… it seems I’ve been doing that my whole life. I’ve kind of got that down pat. Truthfully I would like nothing more that to find a nice place to call home and settle there for the rest of my life.  Though I know I will never truly get home until I meet my creator when all the work he asks of me is done.  I’d like travel to be something I did for recreation, not as a requirement from year to year. Somehow I think God probably has other plans. But then again, he is the master of surprises!

It is so hard to believe but my journey through undergraduate school is completed, and a brand new road to Divinity School at Duke is opening up before me. Graduation was everything I hoped it would be. Exciting, scary, inspiring, hot, a little boring in places but exhilarating and triumphant. Especially the part where I opened my degree and saw the little gold sticker that read cum laude. It made me feel extra happy. It has been a tumultuous six months. So many highs and lows. There were moments when I was certain I wouldn’t complete my final work. I stared at a stack of books 20 volumes high and realized that there was just no way to condense all that I had gleaned from them and my hours of online field ethnography into a twenty page final project. Luckily my professor didn’t penalize me for going over.

I toured seminaries in Alexandria, VA and in Austin, TX and Divinity School at Yale. After not really feeling any of them and at the recommendation of a classmate, I checked out Duke during their Women in Ministry conference and the differences were startling. From the beginning when I assembled in front of the modern R. David Thomas Executive Center with a group of other women exploring their calls, I felt at home. When we arrived at our welcome dinner, the admissions director began with prayer. The way that each and every person spoke about God, Jesus and relationship was immediate and personal and absolutely true to my experience. All of this had been absent from my other tours, where God was discussed in theoretical terms. There were lots of signs, small and large that were personal to me and my ongoing conversations with God. When I walked into Duke chapel before catching the van back to the hotel, it was almost completely empty, the twilight filtered in through the many, many stunning stained glass windows. I stared up at the vaulted ceiling and was filled with that almost painful feeling of joy at beauty. That was when the choir began to sing “What wondrous love is this?” at the altar. In my daze I had not even realized they were in the chapel practicing. As the sound swelled over me, I felt my skin prickle all over with goosebumps and shivered at how present I felt God was. It had been a while since I had been given such clear direction on my next steps so what an amazing weekend it turned out to be. I wasn’t sure how all of it would happen, but I knew that it would. Somehow, despite the fact that I am Episcopalian and its a Methodist seminary, that I am broke and its expensive, I just knew God would make it happen. He would provide.

And so he did. I was accepted and received a grant from the annual fund, work study and (un?)fortunately some more loans. However, I’ll take em’ for now. I’ll apply myself and hopefully kick enough academic butt to get scholarship money next year.

I am leaving a safe haven and venturing through a rocky pass into the next valley. In my moments of communion with God I am tantalized with momentary glimpses of the beauty and possibility that await. Still, the people I have shared my days and nights with, the lessons I have learned about finding and building a home and living in community have been precious beyond measure.

There is still so much to come. I discovered that I can participate in up to 5 field education experiences, 3 of them funded by Duke. (So in my case, that probably means 3!) Still, three is awesome! They have a Parish based CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) program that is partnered with Duke Hospital that lasts a year. I can do a mission overseas. I can also do a summer internship in a church! So three wonderful experiences.

There’s the fact that I will be moving into a new place, maybe even a house with wood floors and my own backyard where I can plant my favorite flower, gardenias, under my bedroom window. Nothing like sleeping with the window open and smelling the gardenias blooming while listening to the frogs and cicadas sing. Maybe even a garden. Haven’t had one of those since I left Alabama.

So many adventures await. So much new information. New experiences, new faces and friends, new opportunities to grow and fail too of course! 🙂

Twilight is on cable and I am struck by how romantic it is. When Edward dances with Bella at the end they play one of my favorite songs by Iron and Wine,and you can tell he is absolutely committed and in love with her. Earlier in the film they play Clair de Lune and not only is it such a beautiful composition, it’s one of the best classical compositions ever written in my opinion, and the one thing I would love to learn to play on the piano before I die.

The summer holds its own adventures. I will take care of my mom during and after a hard surgery in Richmond. I hope to get some actual vacation-y time. See my daughter and grandson. Go camping, maybe kayaking and rafting. Definitely revamp my workout routine and my wardrobe!

It’s going to be an exciting year. I can just feel it. 🙂

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