A Look Back as I Step Forward
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”
Hmm…. Sounds just like Divinity School.
This quote by Charles Dickens in the novel A Tale of Two Cities oddly captures my thoughts as I reflect on the last three years. It has absolutely been the best of times; held in love by my faculty and friends, challenged to expand my vision of the divine through interactions with those that are different from me, and encouraged to find my voice in the classroom and beyond. I have been inspired by the music of Lift Every Voice (Editor’s Note: Lift Every Voice is a musical ensemble comprised of School of Divinity students), the diversity of proclamation found in community worship, and the fellowship experienced at our bi-weekly lunches.
However, if I am being honest, it has also been the worst of times. Life has happened in ways that I could have never predicted. Between my frequent collisions with the burning questions of “Who is God?” and “What does God do?,” and figuring out my voice among all of labels of progressive, conservative and other, I barely had enough strength to face the normal car, computer, family, etc. problems. In addition, the constant push to self-awareness forced me to deal with some things that I had long forgotten and put into the safe of my mind labeled, “Do Not Enter.”
Even though I cringe at some of the experiences, I know that they have all contributed to the person that is moving forward. Each and every experience pointed me in a direction that allowed for me to discover parts of myself that I had not come in contact with before. In my mountain peak moments I experienced joy and love in new ways. I experienced moments of self-discovery, compassion, and the necessity of laughter. In my valleys I learned the power of salt water releasing from your eyes and the beauty of allowing others to hold you up when you can’t on your own.
Three years seems to be just enough time for a lot of life to happen. Something will come along that will bring a smile so big it feels like your face can break. Something else will come along that hurts so bad that you wonder if your heart will cease to ache. But, at its best, WakeDiv is a place that supports and cultivates the person that you are during the entire human experience. I am extremely grateful for the classes, for the ministry experiences, for the pathways, community worships, lunches, meetings, etc.
However, above all else, I am grateful for the people, who despite the extremes that I experienced in these three years, stuck around, built relationship and have settled into an intimate place in my heart marked forever. A lot has happened, but even more is able to happen in my life because of my time here. I am grateful. I love this place and these people. As I reflect through all the seemingly dichotomous moments found in the quote I began with, I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing.
Chelsea Yarborough (MDiv ’15)
Chelsea is a native of Baltimore, MD. She received her undergraduate degree at Elon University and has just finished her Master of Divinity at Wake Forest School of Divinity. She is looking forward to continuing her education at Vanderbilt University this fall Fall, where she will pursue doctoral studies in Homiletics and Liturgics. Chelsea loves Yoohoo, short walks on the beach and Thursday night Scandal parties with friends.