Wednesday, January 20, 2010

a rare moment

I keep this blog on the lighter side -- at the very least, self-deprecating. But i've had such a long hiatus and my last entry was on Team Edward for pete's sake, that I feel obligated to share something of the inner me.

I finished grad school in 2005. It is now the beginning of 2010 and the ache has not gone away. I'd give my right arm to be back in school. It's the last time I've felt alive.

January and August are the hardest months for me because they represent the start of a new semester. I spend hours at night researching grad schools, analyzing every last admission requirement. Eventually I close my laptop, resigned in disappointment.

So why can't I go? What's keeping me? Nothing. Nothing and Everything.

You see, I don't care about fancy cars and diamond rings. I shop at Goodwill. I love cutting coupons. I'm as thrifty as they come. But when it comes to education, I want the Jaguar. I want to make it into Harvard so people will be impressed by me. I want to silence people with my intellect. I want letters behind my name! I may never be a "mrs." but I can work hard and achieve Ph.D behind my name, by golly.

It's ridiculous and humiliating to know that is inside of me, but it is.

So why can't I go? Because I believe achievement is the key to satisfaction. Of course, I don't believe this intellectually. But in my heart? It's the loudest voice. And so I find great comfort in the words of St. Augustine, "our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You."

10 comments:

Anne Gearhart said...

I read your blog, having stumbled upon it at some point. The moment my grad school journey ended, by no conscious choice of my own, and I sat down in my office to catch my breath was "Not my will but Yours, Lord." Its been 10 years and yes, the ache is still there, but it is subsiding, and I do sometimes wonder what this more wonderful thing He has picked out for me that wasn't a PhD. Someday I'll know.

drh said...

Ironically, I have been thinking lately...pretty much everything you just said, only the opposite. I am in graduate school now. Again. The start of every term (I’ve only known quarters, so there’s even more starts of terms) feels like a root canal. Prior to each of the last two terms, I’ve visited friends in Orlando and ached for a few weeks afterward because I’ve missed living in a place with friends and a thriving community – something I’m not getting a whole lot of while taking an academic overload and working part-time.

And I’ve done my time perusing the doctoral programs on Harvard’s website, as well, and I halfway think I’ll end up there someday. For example, a doctorate involving international education and increasing literacy in a developing country sounds appealing. I looked at that just this week.

But mostly I miss being in a community and having time to spend with people. I spend my nights trying to figure out how to make that happen again, frustrated that the time I spend dreaming means I’ve added to the time crunch for completing assignments I’m not especially motivated to do.

And usually, at the end of each day, I remind myself that God has a time and a season for everything, that He is good, and this won’t last forever. And some days, like this morning, I wake up singing about His deliverance.

Scott said...

Thanks for sharing Karin. I can't relate to your current situation, I do know what it feels like to be waiting for longing to be fulfilled.

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul."

Anna said...

Are you saying the reason you don't do it is because you know you want it too much? That's how I feel about moving to a larger house. I'm not sure that thinking is entirely Biblical, though. What do you think?

karin said...

Thank you so much for writing, Anne! Nice to "meet" you.

I so appreciate everyone's comments. And Anna -- I'll write you back. I just need to think about your question.

WOW-CAJ said...

I want to sit down and write you a check today....and yet, this blasted economy prevents it. So, I shall leave you my life policy and if you have not made it to grad school before I depart you shall stop what you are doing and JUST DO IT knowing that it would thrill me to know I had a part in your reaching your goal! (Remember Aunt Hazel's gift to me?) All in God's time....He WILL give you the desires of your heart. He promised! Love you!

Cindy Lynn said...

It is such a tough situation isn't it? With education, comes a sense of confidence and achievement...which then can so easily turn into pride and vanity. Education and the thirst for knowledge will always be in your blood, Karin, and I believe this is a true gift from God. While it might feel like these dreams (even the grand Harvard ones!) are out of reach, it's all in due time :)

Matthaeus Flexibilis said...

Ran across this quote that reminded me of your post, not to mention my own similar desires that I made peace with (HT:JT):

I cannot help but mention my conviction that this problem is partly the result of our present system for training theologians. To qualify for college or seminary positions, a theologian must earn a PhD, ideally from a prestigious liberal university. But at such schools, there is no training in the kind of systematic theology I describe here. Liberal university theologians do not view Scripture as God’s Word, and so they cannot encourage theology as I have defined it, as the application of God’s infallible word. Students are welcome to study historical and contemporary theology, and to relate these to auxiliary disciplines such as philosophy and literary criticism. But they are not taught to seek ways of applying Scripture for the edification of God’s people. Rather, professors encourage the student to be “up-to-date” with current academic discussion and to make “original contributions” to the discussion, out of his autonomous reasoning. So when the theologian finishes his graduate work and moves to a teaching position, even if he is personally evangelical in his convictions, he often writes and teaches as he was encouraged to do in graduate school: academic comparisons and contrasts, minimal interaction with Scripture.

In my judgment, this is entirely inadequate for the needs of the church. It is one source of the doctrinal declension of evangelical churches, colleges, and seminaries in our day. Evangelical denominations and schools need to seek new methods of training people to teach theology, educational models that will force theologian candidates to mine Scripture for edifying content. To do this, they may need to cut themselves off, in some degree, from the present-day academic establishment. And to do that, they may have to cut themselves off from the present-day accreditation system.


—John Frame, The Doctrine of the Word of God, p. 278 n. 6.

Matthaeus Flexibilis said...

Ran across this quote that reminded me of your post, not to mention my own similar desires that I made peace with (HT:JT):

I cannot help but mention my conviction that this problem is partly the result of our present system for training theologians. To qualify for college or seminary positions, a theologian must earn a PhD, ideally from a prestigious liberal university. But at such schools, there is no training in the kind of systematic theology I describe here. Liberal university theologians do not view Scripture as God’s Word, and so they cannot encourage theology as I have defined it, as the application of God’s infallible word. Students are welcome to study historical and contemporary theology, and to relate these to auxiliary disciplines such as philosophy and literary criticism. But they are not taught to seek ways of applying Scripture for the edification of God’s people. Rather, professors encourage the student to be “up-to-date” with current academic discussion and to make “original contributions” to the discussion, out of his autonomous reasoning. So when the theologian finishes his graduate work and moves to a teaching position, even if he is personally evangelical in his convictions, he often writes and teaches as he was encouraged to do in graduate school: academic comparisons and contrasts, minimal interaction with Scripture.

In my judgment, this is entirely inadequate for the needs of the church. It is one source of the doctrinal declension of evangelical churches, colleges, and seminaries in our day. Evangelical denominations and schools need to seek new methods of training people to teach theology, educational models that will force theologian candidates to mine Scripture for edifying content. To do this, they may need to cut themselves off, in some degree, from the present-day academic establishment. And to do that, they may have to cut themselves off from the present-day accreditation system.


—John Frame, The Doctrine of the Word of God, p. 278 n. 6.

karin said...

Thanks for that quote, Matt. I greatly admire John Frame.