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Guilty for Experiencing Joy

 I mentioned on Instagram earlier today that I haven't posted current pictures of myself in a while. I haven't felt particularly beautiful this month. It has been a tumultuous month--surely a season of transition in my life where uncertainty abounds and anxiety overwhelms. BUT TODAY, I posted selfies! Goofy selfies. Selfies that weren't glamorous or seductive. Selfies of me smiling. I woke up this morning, looked at my bedroom wall (which has my various life goals and plans of action posted on it), and did much of what was on my spiritual plan-of-action list. I meditated. I prayed. I worshiped; and I got up to begin my day. It was glorious. The sun shone through my bedroom windows like a much needed halo, surrounding me and reminding me of my divinity.

Today was my LAST first day of school as a full-time seminarian! πŸ’ͺ Yes, it's a 3 year Master/Mistress of Divinity degree program, but I completed the coursework in 2 years and although I still have to write my thesis and complete a Clinical Pastoral Care fellowship this summer, I AM DONE WITH CLASSES! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! I am still open to taking a class or two next year if my budget allows, but I am at $90,000 in student loan debt, so this decision to hustle--to take 18 graduate credits a semester, amidst summer and winter break classes--was about protecting my finances and creating time to practice this new thing--ministry--in a sort of "gap year" while I write my thesis and prepare for ordination (and make some money). I am currently researching and reading as I discern the topic of my 50+ page thesis--a requirement for my degree program. God willing, I will begin writing in August, and this thesis will be the beginning of a book.


So, today was a good day; and yet, I'm scared. I started having a massive itching/scratching attack around 6:30 pm (I scratch frantically when my nervous system goes haywire). I'm scared because I can't enjoy good days. I'm always looking over my shoulder for the unexpected sledgehammer to come slicing through and pounding on the joy and the smiles. I struggle with enjoying the good days because I know what it's like to be blindsided by life. Just when the sun shines so beautifully through your bedroom window--waking you up with a smile on your face--somebody dies...a partner breaks up with you...a friend or mentor stops f***ing with you...the ceiling bursts in your bathroom, leaking water everywhere! I'm so accustomed to being disappointed that I felt guilty, today, for experiencing a moment of joy on this LAST first day of formal classes at the seminary. Guilty for experiencing a moment of joy.

But I will post these selfies...because I deserve to capture this moment in time--this moment when I'm not crying, or short of breath, or having an anxiety attack, or scratching profusely, or overwhelmed, or worrisome.
This morning, I was certain...

certain that I was alive
certain that I was experiencing joy
certain that my smile was genuine and not forced
certain that God created me to thrive
certain that I was/am beautiful
certain that I will survive.

I am certain
that my present sufferings
can't be compared
to the glory revealed.

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