Saturday, January 2, 2010

Stretching the Rubberband

We put a deposit on a small apartment in Richmond the Saturday after Christmas, so the last step in my attending Earlham School of Religion for the Spring term (so called) has fallen into place, except for buying furniture. As it happens we have a spare futon, a spare kitchen table and two space kitchen chairs, a spare wicker "armchair," some spare standing lamps ... and the place comes with a built-in bookcase, so what more do I need? And my friend Jane just received a pickup truck as a gift from her father ... everything has, as I mentioned, fallen into place.

I do love Barnesville, I love Stillwater meeting, I love the stillness and the lack of traffic here, the rolling hills and how easy day-to-day life is and how cordial people are. I like no longer measuring my life in stop lights. I like Olney Friends School. I really was having a problem with uprooting again, after having just moved to Barnesville, ( and what an upheaval that was) to now "up and" go 3 and half hours away. But then I realized I will still be in Barnesville four days a week. I'll be home most Sundays for Stillwater meeting; I will still meet Sophie once a week for lunch. I will be sleeping in my bed here five nights out of seven. I'm not uprooting. I'm simply stretching my rubber band. That's my new metaphor ... stretching the rubber band. I hope it doesn't snap.

I think this must be a species of leading, as I've felt, in a way, as if I've floated through all of this. Having said that, it's my will--my volition--that has done all the acting. I, not an angel, filled out the applications, wrote the essays, solicited the recommendations, mailed the forms, made the phone calls, registered for the classes and found the apartment, but all along it has felt oddly out of body, as if some force were propelling me. Pushing and pulling. It doesn't altogether make sense to me to do this, but I'm trying to flow with it. If it's not a leading, it's demonic possession ... but it doesn't feel that way.

But how would I know? (Anybody with a good exorcist up their sleeve?) Actually, I do think demonic possession would feel ... less peaceful, more anxious, more frenzied. But that's just from watching horror movies ... and, oh yeah, reading the Bible. So it's probably a leading. Time will tell.

As for me going to divinity school, I know God uses cracked vessels.

Any thoughts?

8 comments:

mary ellen newport said...

hey, diane, i have spare furniture, too - check in some time!

mary ellen

Bill Samuel said...

May you feel God's grace sustaining and uplifting you all during this new part of your journey.

Liz Opp said...

Hi, Diane.

You are living with important questions. It also sounds like you are living into the answers, especially when it comes to testing a leading!

Because you use the phrase "pushing and pulling," I recommend you look at this post about leadings, by Richard M, a Conservative Friend from North Carolina. (The comments may be useful too.) He's not blogging as much of late but his messages still speak to me....

Blessings,
Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up

Micah Bales said...

Sounds like you are following God's promptings as best you can. I'll look forward to hearing what God has in store for you at ESR.

Blessings on you, friend!

Micah Bales
http://valiantforthetruth.blogspot.com
http://lambswar.blogspot.com

Pat Pope said...

Amen and amen! I can tell you that when I applied for seminary, it was a compelling feeling that I couldn't shake. It has turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life and I'd do it all over again.

You know, it wouldn't be called faith if there weren't some risk involved. Of course, in actuality, there is no risk, but because of our limited human condition, we don't know that. So we must take risks (calculated and uncalculated) in this journey called faith. God is gracious and where we miss Him, I believe He is faithful to correct our way.

Diane said...

Bill,

Thanks for the kind thoughts! And Micah too.

Liz,

I linked to the blog and found it useful--so thank you.

Pat,

Thanks for the response. Do I know you from Jesus Creed? Are you a Quaker?

lizw said...

Hi! I found this entry via the Quaker Quaker feed. St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote a great deal about distinguishing positive and negative leadings, which he called spirits, and he would have agreed with you that a negative one would bring more agitation. There are some good resources on his teaching here.

Hystery said...

Diane,

I'm really excited for you. What a fantastic opportunity! I hope you'll share what you are learning in this blog from time to time. I think a really good seminary education is one of the best educations a person can get. Many blessings on your journey.