My minister has a framed picture on the wall of his office at church – it’s the Tichh Nhat Hanh meditation “I have arrived. I am home.” Since I’m in his office a fair bit, between meeting with him individually and for Pastoral Care Associate meetings and such I have stared at this picture a lot. I love it.
I started seminary today. I was a nervous wreck for the past few days and then… I got there. And in all of its fluorescent lit, mediocre bagels and bad coffee glory I had arrived. I took a seat and started talking to people. People, mostly people close to my age, doing the same thing as me. This thing none of my college friends understand even though they’re being really nice about it. It felt so right.
We did all the normal orientation things. It was explained what a venerable and esteemed institution we were at, the multifaceted, and I’m sure very unique, benefits were tossed around, and we mingled. I met new people and old people and I laughed and I felt, well, blessed. To be there. To be able to be there. I felt like I belonged.
After lunch four of us ended up outside playing Frisbee and already we have inside jokes (they involve me aiming at freshmen). We went on a hideously long walking tour of Boston immediately after which we had to go to a fancy hotel to meet our professors. We ate fancy-ish hors d’oeuvres and laughed at how underdressed almost everyone was.
It was good. I returned home happy, and content, and thrilled, and all kinds of other adjectives.
And it was good, too, because when I posted a happy status about being in seminary over FIFTY of my friends “liked” the status on Facebook. These friends who have been following me from when I first declared I may, possibly, be interested in seminary to today, when I started. Friends from college and friends from church and minister after minister after minister saying “Good for you. I’m glad.” It was such a fun, good feeling.
Not everything was perfect. Almost nobody got my pronouns right, and while my name was correct on my nametag it was incorrect on my folder and my advisor letter. I am pretty sure there’s no gender neutral bathroom that’s easily accessible in the building. I was too scared to correct people much. I am incredibly dehydrated because, well, if you don’t think there’s a place to go to the bathroom you don’t drink enough water.
But I have arrived. I am home. It’s not perfect and there are going to be speed bumps and awful bits but, right now, in this moment, I’M THERE. That’s what matters right now. I am THERE.