The longest semester (ever) will be over in just a week.
It’s rare that anyone wants just half a piece of cake, one shoe, or the wrong half of a pencil to write a check. Unless it’s Tom & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream, anything half done isn’t satisfying.
If we’ve worked hard we want the A, not the C. Outcomes like this make me feel like my best isn’t good enough. Shoulda, woulda, coulda, right? It’s certainly easy for me to get swept up in the grades and gold stars, but how often does anyone ask about these things? It seems to matter most in our own minds, or at least the initial paperwork for PhD study. (Which at this point in my life, is NOT on the table!) While I know this in my heart, my brain is especially stubborn in holding on to old thoughts and habits.
So what if I reevaluated my understanding of success?
This school year evolved into a very different set of circumstances than what we first started with. Aaron has yet to return home for “good” and I’ve struggled finding a rhythm by myself. These things haven’t hindered the creation of new and fun memories, nor have they crushed my zeal for learning, but they have made it incredibly difficult to stay objective.
“Real” life can’t be ignored. Emotions run high, groceries lists get lost, traffic gets ugly and assignments get set aside. I kept telling myself I should be able to handle this, that this was my responsibility on the home front while Aaron worked hard in training. Throughout this past year I’ve fallen and failed in more areas than one. I felt defeated. But, spoiler alert. I can’t do it all and I’m not supposed to.
Success this semester has looked different. My understanding of liturgical worship, infant baptism, and early monasticism (among many other wonderful subjects!) developed alongside questions of God’s providence and salvation. I’ve slowly grown in my confidence in the kitchen. I’ve enjoyed walking on the beach and around the city. Friendships have continued to blossom. I’ve been able to sleep in a few times and catch the sunrise too! I’ve yet again proved to myself that I am resilient despite the ache in feelings of fatigue, frustration, and loneliness.
This past year at the seminary has been fruitful. Hard, but edifying. I’ve learned more about myself than classes could cover. One very full year down and another to go. All that to say (to myself), keep going. You’re almost there.