Stopping to fuel up my jetta with diesel fuel on 1-96 and grabbing a ginormous box of good n’ plenty’s for the road, I drove through the darkened farmland of Michigan to Wheaton, IL where I’ll spend the week in class learning about the history of evangelicalism and the theology of the gospel for the M.A. I’m working on. I have so been waiting for this week.
When I arrived at my friend Annie’s apartment, I could see the glow of the Billy Graham center steeple in the background where I’ll spend all week in class. When I took my job as regional coordinator for
evangelism two years ago, I negotiated that I could work on this degree (along with raising thousands of $ to do it) to help me best serve the students and staff I work with through InterVarsity and provide them with most cutting edge training and resources. Even though working on this degree has benefitted me professionally, I’ve enjoyed it for another reason. I get to escape into my brain. I get to spend a solid week just learning, and thinking and writing and reflecting without having to balance all the other aspects of my life. And it feels like a vacation even though I’m working really hard. People have asked if it’s difficult being away from Dave and Reuben while I take these week-long intensive classes and it is. Once, I was staying in a guest home during one of my classes, I could hear a baby crying and his mother singing him to sleep. It was so gut-retching as a mom I had to put in my earbuds and turn on some Miles Davis to drown out the noise and mom guilt sprinkled with the sadness of not being at home to sing my own son to sleep.
But then I get over it and I get into class and start discussing theology, ideas, history and I feel like any sense of regret, sadness or guilt dissipates as I float to the cloud nine of learning. I’ve liked being able to fully immerse myself during the week without thinking about if I’ve thrown on a load of laundry since Reuben peed through all of his underpants, that I should do the dishes before Dave gets home so it’s one less thing for us to do, that I need to pick up more cat food for our two crazy cats Conan and Chester. I walk through the aisles of Trader Joe’s and pick out what I want to eat for the week (chocolate dunkers and edamame!). I sing along with Kanye, Mary J. Blige and Lady GaGa at full blast in the car as I speed along 1-94. I talk walks alone at the end of a long day and if it’s still light out, I watch the cardinals flit through the grey leafless branches and reflect on what I’ve learned, the diverse people in my classes and how thankful I am for a husband who helps me pursue my dreams, the funds that have been generously provided for me to take classes and the space to do so.