I'm glad it's Friday. It is finally time to take a breath. The first big breath I've had in a while. School has been out for two weeks today for my kids, but today marks the start of summer for me. And I'm seriously considering napping for several days straight.
The last couple of years have been a whirlwind. I started grad school in August 2007, saying I would only take one class a quarter until I got both my kids in elementary school. The first two quarters, I did just what I had intended, taking 3 hours every 10 weeks. Busy, but very doable.
The next quarter - I signed up for 2 classes, a regular class and a weekend intensive - Counseling Diverse Communities. And that point, my world began to fly apart. The diversity class proved to be one of the most intense experiences of my entire degree program. And during that term, I also signed up for a week intensive summer course in Taos, NM - Sexual Counseling and Therapy. By the beginning of year two - I had 18 course credit hours under my belt - a full load in most graduate programs - and the foundations of my world had cracked and every bit of ground under me began to shift and hasn't stood still since.
The next year, from August through July, I took 33 course credit hours. An insane load - almost double the full time load in most programs and six hours more than our program recommended. That left me with 3 classes this past year and my practicum and internship experience. I finished up my internship in April, graduated in May, toured Europe for the first time just two weeks ago, and then came back and worked a full week of VBS (vacation bible school -- for the uninitiated) in a leadership role that I did not ask for nor anticipate.
To say I'm dead on my feet doesn't even begin to describe it. VBS always wears me out. More so this year, partly because I was completely unprepared. And partly because I've really outgrown some of the things about my current community of faith. So amidst the usual chaos - I also was dealing with my own lesser strengths and a not insignificant amount of cognitive dissonance.
But I've realized a few things through this entire process:
~ School makes me as happy as it always has - I LOVE to learn - I LOVE the classroom experience - and I already miss it.
~ I can write. Academic papers, commentary, more creative pieces. I've had great encouragement for my writing through these past few years; something I didn't really anticipate.
~ Hope and healing through the telling of our stories makes up a major part of my life's work. I'm excited to get started.
~ I haven't had a solid two week break since I started this process.
~ My kids are fulfilled where they are - and that's okay, even if it no longer fills me in that same way.
~ I can be a baptist and honor the goddess in me at the same time. And the choice I make today doesn't have to be the choice I make tomorrow.
~ I could have never made this journey alone.
But most of all - right this very minute - I am looking forward to absolutely NO obligations for the next two weeks... except for the things I've already added to my calendar this afternoon.....