To start off, I can say that a lot of my prayers have been answered. In the "where am I going?" prayer, the answer was delightful- you're staying right here. I'm officially in the Charleston area for the next two years. For a while I was afraid of this. Part of the delight in not knowing where Thomas and I were going was in the excitement to start somewhere new. A new home, a city to discover, new possibilities for me. I was concerned to stay here because I didn't know what I was going to do. I don't know if my desire to move was out of fear or boldness. I hope it was a bit of both. Time will tell and travel in my new family is inevitable, but not for another 2 years.
In the "what am I doing?" prayer, I also had some excellent answers. I want to work, but in the area I'm in until June, let's just say there's not a whole lot going on. So I turned to the United Way's volunteer site and now I have training next week for one, an ongoing project, and an interview at the beginning of May. There is a stirring inside of me that tells me to hold out on the stress to find a job immediately- I am receiving a few job opportunities here and there and soon I think I will find one that fits where I live and will be living soon (on base).
In the "where am I in my faith?" question that I mostly posed to myself, instead of God, I have found Him listening in on my thoughts yet again! I often find myself sure of a few things, but not always of many things. I see God as a constant and my humanity as the variable. But then just writing that proved to me that the opposite can be true as well. A life group (house church/bible study/good group of people) I've been going to has been great- getting me out and meeting new people, connecting on a regular basis with friends, low key worship, communion with others, prayer, and feeling part of a community. (And what is a community will be another blog post.) It's amazing to have this group of people and I love that God put me near them. I am quite blessed in being able to stay around my friends and family- the people who inspire me the most.
I have also been trying to read more- more of the Bible and more of Desmond Tutu's works. I like to see bits of myself and bits of who I want to be in my favorite religious authors. (I think that is why there is often a love/hate relationship among theological works. It's not really love/hate. It's more connection/lack thereof.) In Dietrich Bonhoeffer I see the boldness I wish to have. I'm convinced there's a spark in me somewhere for that. He died at 39 on April 9, 1945, executed by the Nazis for (among other things) a plot to kill Hitler. I don't think my faith is that bold. But he also started rogue "underground" seminaries to train Lutheran pastors when the Nazis started to infiltrate the German Lutheran churches. How bold is that?? In C. S. Lewis, I see the elegance and intelligence he put into his writings. He was vastly creative and prolific. His works touch millions of readers of all ages with imagination and truth. I don't need to touch millions. But his eloquence is what I wish to convey. Often I just feel like I'm rambling. And Desmond Tutu is my current book/friend-crush. In Desmond Tutu I read what I think in my head. What a powerful feeling! No wonder the president, the UN, the Dalai Lama (and you know I love him too), and all sorts of important people hold him in such high esteem. His work brings succinct, clear points and they relate to me that the thoughts I possess that I secretly wonder about are indeed Christian in nature. It also makes me realize that within the current state of affairs in America, I am indeed, a social liberal. It's quite a branding to take on in the country, let alone the South. Then again, Jesus wasn't much of a Conservative.
I think some more things will be further revealed to me as time passes. Answers to why I am here in Charleston and what I should be doing with my life. I keep getting pushed by those who don't know me as well, to finish my degree. But I am having a hard time grappling with my love for theology, religion, international relations, and history versus the evil evil evil that is my Bipolar Disorder at school. For one reason or another, it just can't seem to handle it. People have also gone at me with the online degree idea, but I'm skeptical. All online doesn't have human interaction that I crave and very few programs are available for an undergrad in theology or comparative religions. Plus, what would be the fun in a religion degree when there's no live debate?!?! For now, I am telling myself that waiting will bring me options. So I read books to keep my brain active. I'm more methodical when I read by myself. I re-read frequently, meditate on it, and pray about it more- leading to different and interesting revelations. But I miss conversation and stimulation from classmates and professors. Ahhhh! I keep telling myself to rest, that my time will come. But telling myself to rest is suppressing my very nature.
And that is quite a testament to the nature of my faith.