“I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.”” (Revelations 21:3-5)
A few months ago, when I was overwhelmed by the pain of having to place Maria in BARC Housing, I wrote in this blog that it was terribly strange to find that now I defined myself more by subtraction than by addition. Since then, there have been more losses to face into and probably others I am not yet aware of. But here’s what I know now: the losses opened spaces in my life to renew friendships I’d neglected and conversations that constantly challenge me to dig deeper and explore further. I’ve had to tend to myself in mind, body and spirit more kindly than ever before. Now, I am about to start engaging in the kind of learning I put aside the day I dropped out of graduate school to marry Sherod. On the 10th, I am starting an online course called “Modern and Contemporary American Poetry” taught by a UPenn professor through coursera.org.
I took the GRE in 1981 and when I applied to Sewanee and Vanderbilt for my MDiv and PhD, those scores still counted. Now they don’t. I am seriously considering the notion that I’ll take a year to prepare to retake it. Probably, I should consider something more like 2 years for the math part :-/. Be that as it may, the tug of academics is pretty strong these days. I’ve got two books by Merleau-Ponty on my bedside table; at night when I start reading, I don’t get sleepy. In fact, the opposite happens. I wish I had the stamina I once had to stay up reading all night. The possibilities that have opened with online learning are just too thrilling to pass up; I get a little giddy considering “the places I could go”.
I won’t pretend the loss is diminished. Yesterday morning, I picked up Maria at BARC and as we drove down I-595, belting out Set Fire to the Rain with Adele, I was beyond happy. After I dropped her back off yesterday evening, I wept. All of that grief is still a part of me. But at least right now, it is true that in small and wondrous ways, tears are wiped away and things are being made new.