Context of Opposites

Published: September 12, 2014

I write this today with so many thoughts running through my head, call them “reflections” if you will. The last two weeks have been full of firsts for me (and probably many of you). I find myself in this context of beauty and angst simultaneously. Most days I wonder what I have gotten myself into…yet, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I want to run away, but I want to stay here and learn more.

I’m a first-year Divinity student. I now understand this term to be a label, an emotion, and an experience. I truly enjoy every one of my classes. But, that enjoyment exists alongside of a realization that there is much to learn. A mere month ago, I plowed through books, novels, poetry and pages of narratives for personal enjoyment. There was no consequence to reading the right or wrong way. There were no papers to write, reflections, or classroom discussions to be had.

This week (as I settle into a sort-of pseudo-groove), I find myself rereading the same six pages for understanding. And, I write my reflection certain that I’ve missed some important detail or I’ve got it all wrong. I wonder if I’ve had some sort of “cosmic misunderstanding”.

It seems that for the past two weeks, every question, every doubt has had a parallel response. If I stayed up late reading and doubted my understanding and abilities, I was presented with another student mirroring my doubt and confusion. When I wondered how my own personal theological perspectives and ideas of community would be received, I was presented with an orientation that fit the bill.

Though this past months and weeks have been full of self-doubt, it’s because of those doubts that I have been able to hear the reassurance of my peers, professors, deans, faculty, community, and even G-D. Would I have been able to hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit when she told me to print Bill Leonards slides? Or when my new friend is overwhelmed with the balancing act of family, wedding planning, work and school? Would I have been able to articulate the similarities between Gail O’Day’s closing sermon during orientation on “Manners” and Fred Bahnson’s first class on “Food and Faith”? I don’t know all the answers. I do know that I am comforted by the thought of a greater purpose, that this doubt and dread exists alongside of love, beauty, and greater understanding.

Monica Banksbanksm

First Year

 Monica is a wife and mother whose previous experience includes restaurant management and youth work. Monica is pursuing a concentration in Food and Faith with hopes of being ordained in the Disciples of Christ (Christian Church).