The suitcases are unpacked. One of them isn’t back in the basement yet, but they are unpacked.
I have washed three loads of laundry today. One of them is still in the dryer.
I put some of my “travel kitchen” stuff back in the real kitchen, since I do not plan to be cooking at the hostel any time soon.
The little black cat is still mad at me, but I imagine that as soon as the Other Human goes back to work tomorrow, she will affix herself to my person for as long as I let her. But this is my busy week, and I will be taking off again tomorrow to get back into the groove of church business.
It is very strange not to be going back to school in Chicago. I got home two days ago from the last academic class of my seminary degree. I owe one sermon, one discussion board reflection, and about ten pages worth of Biblical Interpretation paper to round out the semester; after that, all I have left to do is complete my internship and I will graduate in May.
It has been a long five years.
I have made so little time for life maintenance the last few weeks — even when I put a block of it on my calendar, the last half-year that allotted time has mostly been used to rest, exhausted, or catch up on schoolwork or church work or soul work or to barely smooth over the surface of the chaos. Some deeper order needs to happen.
I need to do some mending. I have things in my life that are worn thin and need to be attended to. That is both literal and metaphorical – the pants with one leg hemmed, the jacket where the seam is pulling out, the coat with the missing buttons.
But also, the dead plant on the windowsill that needs to go into the brush pile out behind the shed, the shoes that need to come in from the porch, the piles of books that need to find a home, some kind of order other than where they landed when last read.
And it will not happen, if I am exhausted, or sick, or stressed out, or overcommitted, or on deadline for something higher priority. And so it hasn’t. Fair enough.
One thing I am still learning, still trying to learn, is the art of making enough space for my self to exist, to breathe, to rest when the need of the world calls me. I know I am not alone in fearing, deep down, that I am too small and too vulnerable and too weak and too flawed to make any difference worth making.
Perhaps this is even true. But I want to remember that I, personally, am not charged with saving the whole of the world singlehandedly; indeed, I am not even solely responsible for saving any small piece of it singlehandedly nor even for completely saving any of it, ever. I am answerable only for doing that piece of the middle of the work which is before me, as much as I can do, as much as I can do it, knowing that it will be insufficient and incomplete — and so will each of the other pieces of the great work, as all of them have always been and will always be.
The great work, after all, is never finished. Like a mathematical limit, we push ever closer toward the beloved community, the kin-dom of God — knowing there is always a measurable gap and infinitely more work to do; it is the doing of the work, not the achieving of some finite end, that is our salvation….
Whatever that means.
I’m feeling unusually contemplative tonight, more so than I have been able to in a long time. Perhaps that means the circle has spiraled round and I am back where I started, only more so. This coming within sight of the end of seminary, it is an ending — but it is a beginning too; not a clear beginning, but the beginning of a beginning, maybe.