What I Want

This post may be more passionate than eloquent.  Fair warning.

Have you ever had a few days or a week where a whole lot of things point you toward realizing something new, or acknowledging something that you couldn’t before?  The beginning of this week was like that for me.  It’s taken me a couple of days to get enough thoughts and enough courage together to write about it, and I’m still not entirely sure what to say.  I’m hoping that saying whatever I have now will help me toward what’s next.

In my taiji class on Monday evening, my coach told us about a Chinese saying which I sadly can’t remember precisely anymore, being Thursday, but it was to the effect of “work however hard on your martial arts skills as you want, chase perfection if you choose, but in the end it will come to nothing.”  The idea being, if I understood it correctly, that however hard you train, eventually your body will fail you — bodies wear out, they get old and weak and someday will die.  That idea caught in my mind, and was nudged further by the songs my iPod picked for me on the drive home — Switchfoot’s “The Beautiful Letdown” and “The Blues,” David Crowder Band’s “The Nearness” and “In The End,” especially.  All songs about the busted state of the world and the promise, the hope and expectation that the world will be renewed, that it is going to get a do-over and things are going to go right.  I kept thinking about this through the evening, again in the morning, and what life and work and what people choose to do means in the face of that; I was starting to plan a post about some of those things, big thoughts with spiritual background, when I got drawn into a couple of separate conversations on Ravelry with philosophical/ethical themes, and mentioned somewhere that I was pondering the great mysteries, again, and finally said to someone “I don’t now if there’s a word for what I am, but I don’t think philosopher is it.”  And she answered, “I wonder if you’re a theologian, someone who thinks and writes about how human beings approach the holy.”

That’s it.  That’s it.  That’s what I have been looking for, the thing I am, the thing that shows me a direction to pursue.

Looping out in another direction for a moment, I have written already about being dissatisfied with the work I do, but at least part of what has kept me from making any moves is not knowing what to move toward.  I tried to think about what else I could do, or what I might like to do, and other than knowing I’d like to do more writing and that I like work that involves making things, I didn’t feel like I had anything to work with. Maybe fear was getting in the way of me seeing clearly, or even trying to look, but that’s what I felt like.

One thing I do, one thing I have nearly always done, is think about things and try to find words to explain them, the most precise way to be able to describe or define something, object or experience or phenomena, whatever.  Partly it’s my own way of understanding things, but it’s also useful for being able to help other people understand too.  If I have thought something through far enough, a lot of the time I can find a way to explain it to someone else.  I enjoy having this talent — being able to find just the right words for something.  I think I can say I’m pretty good at it.  But I’ve never had a formal venue to be able to use it.  I don’t get to do it regularly.

Another thing that I’ve hesitated about is, if I know I want to write, what would I like to write about?  I am friends with a few writers now, people who write for a living, mainly about yarn and fiber related topics.  But I’ve known for a long while that wasn’t where I belonged.  I enjoy knitting and spinning and weaving, but I’m not compelled to study them deeply, to publish patterns, to write about the work I do there.  It’s just not what I need to do.

This blog helps me toward the answer.  I’m trying to write here about real things, about stuff I think about, things I live through — stories that come up out of my life.  Writing about truth is important to me, and especially the kind of truth that is hard to get at in any other way than through stories.  Truth about people, about relationships, about life and love and challenges, about the ways we are shaped into who we are, and what that means to the lives we live, to the other people in tho lives, to the world that houses us.

And more and more, I find I can’t think about those kinds of stories without thinking about spirituality and faith and the relationship of the Divine with the physical world, about how God-the-person interacts with us human people, and how becoming aware of God’s presence in the world is changing me in the world, changing who I am, what I think, what I do.  I want to be able to talk about that too.

I want to learn more about my faith, more about the Church, more about the bible — that astonishing storybook.  I want to learn more about those stories, about the people who told them and lived them, so I can learn from their lives and help other people learn from them too.

So I feel a little closer to what I want, what I may want to do: I want to write about real life and I want to write about spiritual things (which to me are not actually separate topics), and I would love to have the chance to learn more about theology and biblical studies.  I think I would really like to go back to school for those things, even though I don’t have a prospective job title for the future yet.  Even though I’m a little bit scared to say all of this out loud, to write it down and then put it where other people can read it, I’m saying it anyway.

There’s real hesitation for me in admitting that I want something — often even admitting just to myself that I want something.  I’ve had so little confidence in myself over the years, that it was easier, emotionally safer, just not to want stuff badly, especially not important stuff.  It was a way of protecting myself from what seemed like certain disappointment, because who am I to think I deserve to receive big things, or to make big accomplishments?  I think it’s evidence of growth that I am able to say this at all, and especially to tell other people about it.  But I’m still a little scared and really uncertain, because I have no idea what to do next.  I don’t know how to walk toward the things I want, or think I want.  So for today, this is the step I feel like I can take.  Admitting out loud that I want to go back to school, that I want to do more writing and better writing, that I want to write about things that matter and I hope will help people, that I want to learn more about my faith and live inside it more deeply and help other people do the same.

I’m admitting that I don’t have all the answers yet, but that I want to find them.  I’m admitting to myself that I don’t have a complete plan, which is always my tendency to look for first (and the lack of which often keeps me from doing anything), but that I have to make a start, I need to start moving and trust that I will be guided toward where I belong.  I believe in a God who is smarter and wiser than I am, and who has promised to back me up, to lead the way, to not leave me hanging.  If I really believe that, I need to get moving.

So in the end, this is indeed a messy post, not a polished one, not eloquent.  I’m letting it be this way because this is who I am in this moment, writing it: uncertain, unpolished, partly confused, but wanting badly for a change, for my life to start moving forward, moving toward things I want.

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5 comments so far

  1. Lynn on

    Bravo! All of it, bravo!

  2. Cousin Anne on

    That’s a great feeling!

    Having been involved in the philosophy departments of two different institutions, I can tell you that the theology departments and the philosophy departments often are sort of sister-disciplines and there’s often overlap.

    I think you’d be so happy in graduate studies in theology. It would put you in an environment where people also want to learn, you get to write for a living and you can teach and share your thoughts and teachings with like-minded students.

    • stitchesandwords on

      Thanks Anne — I’m getting ready to go away for a long weekend, but when I get back I may ask you some questions, if you don’t mind.

      • Cousin Anne on

        Sure! Not sure how much help I will be but I am happy to answer/help however I can.

  3. sis-in-law Michele on

    Nice post- very insightful. Here’s just a thought for you. . . you should check into Lancaster Bible College. One of our friends from church (Dave- the one really good bass in choir) went there. He is an optometrist by day and also became a certified lay pastor I believe through a program there. While I don’t think that is where you are heading, I think they may have some programs worth checking into when you have a chance (although I tried to check out the website and it wasn’t loading now). You know you we are here for you if you ever want to talk anything out as well.


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