My plans for next year begin on June fifth when, right after preaching in the church where I serve, my husband and I will pack up our truck and zigzag our way to southern California. We will then fly to Europe, to zig and zag a little more before we settle in London for a year. My plans for London are still under construction, and I hope that I will be able to stay flexible enough to keep them that way for the whole year. After three wonderful years here at YDS, in which I have trained my mind and spirit to be moved in specific and ordered ways, I feel called to find out if I can still be moved in a disordered way.
The plans that I do have in place are in the two large boxes of books that I will be shipping to England this week. These boxes are filled with the coursework that I never quite finished reading properly, with the interesting footnotes to articles that I never had the chance to look up, and with novels that have collected dust on my bookshelves. In my new, deadline-free world, I will continue on the path of formation with many of these thinkers and thoughts that I began in my classes at YDS, and hope to continue in a doctoral program after my time abroad.
My continued formation will not only be with theologians, however. In London I will purchase a new cookbook and learn my way through it; I have been inspired by my friends at YDS who offer hospitality through the food that they prepare and serve. If I can find a small piece of London earth, I will plant something and see how green are my fingers; divinity school colleagues who revel in God's creation have taught me to love it. In London I will find a new city in which to serve God; my pre-divinity school commitment to urban ministry has been broadened and deepened by friends who always seek to connect their theological reflections to the world in which we live. I have journals with pages waiting to be filled.
Everything about my time at YDS has challenged me to seek beyond the immediate and obvious in encounters with new ideas or circumstances. I have often asked the question, what would happen if I had more time to pause so that I could experience each challenge even more deeply? What would happen if I pushed even further through my response to a challenge to hear God's voice continue on the other side? This next year is my attempt to take that pause and to catch a second wind.