How People Pray

May 16th

Tonight was our last class of the semester. I’m amazed that in a few days I will be through my first year of seminary. One more class tomorrow, my final paper is complete, and it will officially be end of term! I’ve gone through a full year of school, which I thought would last forever, and it’s gone by faster than my hair grew. We had a final potluck tonight and shared our final projects and I already miss the camaraderie we established in this small and intimate group. Doing the research for my final project – once I got started – was interesting and actually fun. I got to use the UC Berkeley library which was amazing… one of the three that they have… a student’s wet dream! So many books and so little time…. 🙂

I discovered I pray more than I thought I did. I relayed a practice that I have that really touched my classmates and team teachers. I grew up without a bed. I slept on the window seat in our dining room until I was 14 years old. When we moved to another house, my dad fixed up the attic and I had my own room which made me ecstatic. Consequently I’ve made my bed nearly every day of my life… I would say I’ve missed less times than the fingers I have on both hands. I discovered in this class that my reverence for making my bed was a form of prayer; that it has never felt like an obligation, and that I’ve enjoyed it nearly every day of my life. Not having a bed in my formative years when I watched commercials and TV sit-coms of little girls in their canopy beds and Gidget in her room, always made me feel like I had so little. It’s only in my grown up years that I’ve discovered what a blessing that has been for me. It took me years before I could tell people that I even experienced that, for it felt shameful to not have a bed growing up. Now it just feels like a battle scar in a way, a mark of determination and witness to a part of life some people experience and other’s do not. It’s not something I’m ashamed of any longer, growing up poor, but just something that happened to me that I can learn and grow from. And I have been amazed at the reaction from my instructors and fellow students. They’ve taken this experience of mine to heart and I’ve had several tell me what an impact that has made on them when I relay this story. So I guess I’m on my way to being a minister, for isn’t that what ministers do, but encourage and grow one another’s consciousness? I hope that’s something I can do.

So now I take a deep sigh and look around to clean up the clutter and pick up the pieces of all that I dropped this semester… now is the time to start blogging again, to deep clean the bathroom instead of just wiping things down, to go through stacks of papers and junk mail and revel in spring cleaning! I nearly have the summer off! I have 2 workshops one week each and a one week intensive in late August and that is the extent of my educational obligations. It will allow me at least a chance to catch up since I’ve gone part time this first year. I will be going full time next year, full speed ahead I hope, so that I’m not on Social Security when I graduate…. 🙂 sounds like an oxymoron to be on Social Security and a student at the same time. I don’t have my part time job any longer so I may get a chance to look for something flexible this summer. It’s difficult when my class schedule changes every semester to find an empathetic employer, but I know there’s one out there. I’m also hoping that work-study comes through next school year, that could be wonderful! At least they would be understanding…. One can only hope.

So here I sit, with one year of grad school under my belt. Who would’ve thought a year ago that this would have gone so smoothly? I’m looking forward to summer, will even get to Southern Cal to see my cousin’s son graduate from UC Irvine (my younger cousin no less, do I feel old) and then a short visit to LA! That will be nice…. Plus who knows what other adventures await me this coming summer. I’m just thrilled I’m almost through my first year!

From my little piece of Mayberry,
Jo