Sunday, March 4, 2012

Almost a year after I left England...

My last blog was a venting session.

I was a very different woman before I went to England than when I left it, and even more so now.  A huge amount of draining (positive/negative) life events happened after I left England.  Re-entry anxiety wasn't really allowed in my life situation, so my last blog was I think the biggest show of re-entry.

I was a lot more neurotic before England.  I had a lot more static and some stuff I just couldn't wrap my head around.  Now I get it.  And now I miss it.

I've been back on AU campus where I was spoiled before I went to England.  But the gloriously rough time I had in England spoiled AU for me.  There's something about a campus run by ideals that's a relief from the "crunch time" of reality.  But within this educational institution is a lot of time to argue over this option and that one, when what matters is actually pretty simple.

I had so much dissonance when I first went to England because I used to do all that "shades of gray" arguing and being an SM at Stanborough was baptism by fire into how the real world works, how fast you have to think on your feet and what matters in the long term vs. what doesn't.  The culture in England didn't have time for my nerves and preferences, but you know what, I'm kinda glad they're gone.  I like the changes that happened to me in England even though I hated the process (who wouldn't?  It hurts).

I miss England, I want to go back.  I'm entertaining fantasies about not just visiting but working there.  This could be just huge pangs of missing England, but I'm not so sure.  The loves that are true you never get over.  Withdrawal pains eventually cease.  Some people you're happy to stay in touch with through the internet but it doesn't kill you to not be with them in person.

I do love Andrews University, I do.  I love what it stands for and it's filled with precious people.  People are precious everywhere; God made them that way.

But there's something about American culture that no longer makes me feel really at home here.
I haven't quite put my finger on it yet.

I just know that right now, when I think about what I'm going to do over the summer and what classes I'll take next year, my reaction is pretty numb.  But when I think of going back to England and getting back into the hard work I came to embrace, and the people I lived, loved & worked with, I light up...!

Again, I'm aware that this might be just that I'm missing England badly.

But what if it's not?

Lots of people are born and raised in one country and then they transplant to another.

My parents won't be thrilled about this next part, but even while my grades are better than I've ever had (like wow, hello Dean's list), I'm struggling to find motivation to keep taking the classes I need to graduate.

Since I'm studying to be in ministry, yet I did ministry as a student missionary in England, why do I need to finish?  I know it's a stupid question, but I feel moody and I'm just putting it out there.

One thing that could very well be affecting my motivation towards getting degrees, certifications & whatnot is that the last year of 2011 had a lot of loss, shock and heartbreak.  Way too much.  I was in heavy grieving last fall and I'm still not over everything that happened, but at a certain point I felt I needed to suck it up so others around me wouldn't feel uncomfortable.  Sometimes I think people treat grief like a mental illness, like if someone keeps grieving past a certain point (and who the hell gets to decide that point??), then there's something wrong with them.  No.  Grief shows love.  How long and hard you grieve is how deep and wide you loved.  It also shows the nature of the loss.  Last year I had one gradual loss that finally finished and then two shocking, sudden losses that were beyond my control. Horrific to me.

Maybe loss has simplified my life too much.

It's certainly made me feel like a lot of my old "ties" to this world have been cut and all I want to do is kiss school goodbye and just work with people.

Yeah, if/when my parents see this, I'm sure they'll flip.  Daddy wants me to get a doctorate in something and Mom agrees.  Ugh.  Doctorate.  Ugh.

I feel like getting a super-duper specialization in something means that then I'll be in a super-specific place and be able to see & interact less people because my specialty makes me in demand.

But I see somebody with "doctoral material" as having more effect by spreading themselves around.

I'm cursed with being good at whatever I put my mind to.  Picking one thing to hone in on is hard.  It makes me feel like I'd have to get rid of other things.

I've already said goodbye to violin.
I'm not a voice major anymore and I barely have lessons anymore.
I've studied early levels of Spanish and have great pronunciation but I haven't traveled overseas to get fluent yet.  I'm good at communications but it's only my minor.  I'm good with psychology too, yet it is also a minor.  Religion is also something I'm conquering, but even in class I feel like we're arguing over details that don't matter.  In a Biblical studies class the teacher said jewelry is a social issue, not a moral one.  So why the hell do we discriminate against people by appearance since God looks at the heart?  In Theology, we learn about how "what we believe" has developed to what it is now, and I'm learning all these complex theories for how to understand the cross, etc., but when you're dealing with a church member who is emotionally abused, how does the different between Karl Barth and Martin Luther help them?  I feel like we have such complex things to study, because we left simplicity in the first place.  How do all the theories and systems and facts we have to memorize help at all when the most serious things that affect a person (pain & loss in their various forms) are best ministered to NOT THROUGH WORDS?!

Why do I need to get such a costly education to learn other people's opinions when the love of God is now?  When the love of God is simple?  When the love of God is already available for me and for others?  When God's love led Jesus to choose uneducated men to spread the good news?  When God's love is best communicated through friendship, an embrace, a listening ear, a tender touch, and a helping hand, not an exegesis paper few people will read or a sermon people can walk away from and forget, why do I have to do this to myself?

It is so difficult to keep your personal faith alive going through the system of religious education.  It's a process that makes many people (I've seen) as good for the world as PROCESSED FOOD is for your body.  But those who were least "refined" and more simple & raw - like fruits & vegetables - may not look like gourmet dishes with an awesome resume, but boy do they get results!  Boy do they know how to make people feel loved!  Those "least refined" people are the real people living in the real world.  Today so many people going into ministry want to shelter themselves from the things of the world, yet they want to be successful in ministry.  How can you be in the world but not of it unless you are exposed to it?  If you want to be successful in ministry and not see the crap that's out there, all you want to do is preach from a pulpit to people who will already agree to you.  The early church grew because people were telling others about Jesus and embracing them as their own, sharing things, mourning with those who mourned and rejoicing with those who rejoiced.  Mixing classes and cultures.  Coming together.  The continued fusion became growth.  And then instead of growing, it started branching to the point that there are tons of various denominations to choose from, all of them offering the truth.

What is it with all this class-taking just to share God's love?

I don't have a conclusion.
I have a bad mood.

I miss England.

And more than England, I just want the Great Controversy to be over so we can all go Home.

Can you tell that I'm tired?

I am.

But don't worry I'm not going anywhere.

Except maybe England, later, I don't know...


Pray for me, I am not happy with my life these days.