Posted by: preacherjean | February 14, 2010

In Honor of Valentine’s Day…

The Final Reflection*

So I just got back from the weekly Glee viewing and bull session with some of my beloved classmates and I feel the need to reflect on them.  I also need to write one last TSP paper.  The concatenation of the two efforts seemed obvious.

In my first paper, I wrote about my thoughts that no one liked me.  There was a lot contained in that statement, so let me unpack it.  Mainly there was fear.  Fear of not fitting in, fear of failing, fear of letting everyone down, fear that this was somehow all just a horrible mistake, fear of loneliness.  A whole lot of fear.  1st John tells us that perfect love casts out fear, so let me tell you about perfect love as realized at the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in Chelsea, New York City, New York.

First of all, it’s not perfect – far from it.  With the exception of Jesus, we humans are too flawed to perfectly love one another.  No, the love on this campus is big and messy and complicated.  But because of it, I know a lot of things I didn’t know twelve weeks ago.  I know I fit in.  I know that if I fail for some reason, there will be dozens of hands to catch me when I fall.  I know that my hands will be held out and strong for my brothers and sisters if they fall.  I know that we all have doubts, and that we’re stronger for our questioning.  I know I’m not alone.

We have, against all odds (but certainly the following mandate of the TSP course description) become a community, a family.  We are not competitive, except with ourselves.  We’re not spiteful, or if we are, we repent.  We’re fanatically interested in each other and we tell each other our secrets.  We cheer for each others’ victories and commiserate in setbacks.  How could this have happened in so short of a time?  I think it is, in great part, thanks to the Tutorial Seminar, and especially to our small groups.  It is also due to this extraordinary group of people who have been thrown together in this extraordinary situation.  And, last, but not least, it is due to the love of God that just cannot be contained and has to spill out all over the place in big, messy, and complicated ways.

So, inspired by Keith Voet’s facebook post, Top Twenty Things I’ve Learned My First Semester at Seminary, I, too, have put together a list.

Top Twenty Places Love Can Be Found at GTS

Love is found…

1.  …in rallying around a classmate in crisis, whether the crisis be deadly serious or just a serious nosebleed.

2.  …in joking with someone and knowing you’re safe because they get you.

3.  …in never having to eat alone.

4.  …in spontaneous hugs.

5.  …in laughter and in tears.

6.  …in a deeply serious theological discussion, that is nonetheless punctuated by raucous laughter and the occasional Holy F***! (I’m not mentioning any names!)

7.  …in shoulders to whine on, with no guilt.

8.  …in having a set of those shoulders yourself.

9.  …in our similarities, but more importantly, in our differences.

10.  …in someone saying, “I missed you, where were you?” when you miss class.

11.  …in a classmate walking up behind you after chapel or on the way to class and putting her arm around you or taking your hand.

12.  …in noticing flaws in each other and wanting to help rather than to dismiss.

13.  …in shouting “Love you, Joanne” in the mailroom and hearing “Love you back!” through your mail slot.

14.  …in your classmates (and their partners) standing by you singing the Matriculation hymn as you sign the book because you weren’t able to be there for the ceremony.

15.  …in being invited into people’s homes and into their lives.

16.  …in messing up on the chimes or acolyting and being told “good job” anyway.

17.  …in the spontaneous helping of each other (music theory, anyone?).

18.  …in knowing that these use-to-be strangers are my family, and family is forever.

19.  …in all the places I haven’t had a chance to look yet.  But hey, I’ve got a couple of years.

20. …in seeing the face of Christ shining in each of my brothers’ and sisters’ faces every single day.

My solemn pledge for these next two and a half years and beyond is, with God’s help, to keep the love alive because the more we give, the more we have to give.  I think it’s appropriate to end this reflection with lyrics from the final song from a musical that I wrote with a wonderful composer friend of mine.  (it should be mentioned that  Gayla wrote the music and the lyrics, so this is ALL hers.)  The song is called, “Love is Alive.”

LOVE IS ALIVE

LOVE IS ALIVE

LOOK INTO EACH OTHER’S EYES

AND SEE! LOVE IS WITH YOU.

LOVE IS ALIVE

LOVE IS ALIVE

TOGETHER, WE WILL SHOW THE WORLD THAT

LOVE IS ALIVE!

LOVE IS ALIVE

LOVE IS ALIVE

LOVE CANNOT BE BOUND BY DEATH

YES! LOVE IS WITH US.

LOVE IS ALIVE

LOVE IS ALIVE

TOGETHER WE WILL SHOW THE WORLD THAT

LOVE IS ALIVE!

IN EVERY FACE, WE SEE LOVE.

IN YOU, IN THEM, IN ME, LOVE.

LOVE IS ALIVE

LOVE IS ALIVE

WE FACE OUR FUTURE FILLED WITH JOY,

FOR LOVE IS ALIVE

IN US!

Love,

Jean


* With fond memories of John M. Ford, author, raconteur, and good friend, gone far too soon.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Awwwwwww, that’s the Jean I miss! I see you make a “family” for yourself everywhere you go… even though sometimes you have to leave them behind. Thanks for showing me a glimpse of almost all 20 of those places you find love. I miss you!

    • Thanks, Robin! I sure do miss my family back home (i.e., you!)

  2. I love this post. It makes me so very happy to read the reflections of those now walking the path I have so recently walked. Hold on to this time and these people. There is nothing like seminary. Nothing. And when it’s over and you are sent into the world to follow your call, you will take with you so many gifts and so many people from this time. You will need both because while ordained ministry is amazing, it’s also really, really hard.

    • Thanks, Stephanie. I always like hearing your insights, as one who has gone fairly recently before me, and as one who is loving her life as a minister.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: