October 22, 2013

The Fears that Define My Generation

In the past two days, I've had two conversations about young men who seem to hold onto passivity and indecision as long as they possibly can. One of these conversations was with a peer and was about dating. The other was with a mother of a newly-adult-but-still-teenage son. In these dialogues, I proposed two fears that entangle my peers and I, and I would like to hear your thoughts on them.

(Now, as I move from the described context into two generalizations about my generation - and subsequent generations - please note that I am not speaking only of a particular gender. Although I do at times grumble about seeing this in my male counterparts, we women are just as prone...)

1. Fear of failure. Of course, everyone is afraid of failure. But many in my generation have been raised without exposure to failure at all. We don't know how to recover from a mistake or a disaster or anything that is difficult. We haven't been equipped with the social or psychological tools to work through unpleasantry, stress, and inadequacy. All of which are inevitable in our lives. So what do we do? We avoid risk at all costs. We do what is easiest, pursue passivity and let things happen to us, rather than attempting something that may not have the desired results.

2. Fear of missing out. Another belief that has been instilled in my peers and I is that we can do anything and be anyone and have everything. In families and in pop culture, we have been sold this lie. Now, we do have more privilege and opportunity than nearly any other generation before us, but we are not gods. And in our quest for the best of everything, we hesitate to commit to many of the good things. Because what if...what if something (or someone) better is just around the corner? The relationships we have will never look like those on TV, nor will our wardrobes (interesting & skimmable, pardon the profanity), but we all hope that maybe somehow they kind of will.


What are your thoughts, friends? Do you think these are true insights? Do you see these in your own lives?

Of course, the next question for me is, How are these true in my life? Are there ways I am living out of fear, avoiding failure or hesitating to commit for no concrete reason? Am I expecting easy paths that do not exist?

I haven't finished answering these yet, but I think there might be some decisions to make and personal ownership it's time for me to take. I'll keep you posted.

October 10, 2013

Pre-Thanksgiving Gratitude

  1. For gorgeous fall weather and sunshine.
  2. For Laura's visit and presence and friendship in my life.
  3. For Les Miserables, one of the most beautiful and moving musicals.
  4. For roadtrips and francophones and family to visit.(QC, here we come!)
  5. For ultimate frisbee and seeing improvement in my game.
  6. For music mixes to mark the seasons.
  7. For beautiful spaces to study.

October 4, 2013

She Does Seminary: A Whole Month

A month since I first met my classmates in an awkward lobby mingling. There were nametags and I was stressed, looking for a corner and familiar faces. But I survived, and found my friends, and made new friends, and one old-and-now-new again.

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I can translate whole sentences out of the Greek, at least if their verbs are "to be" or "to say." It is amazing to think that a month ago, I didn't even know what an omicron was.

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Tuition is waiting to be paid, and debt is happening, but I'm keeping calm. This small job on campus is a life-saver and I'm grateful that I will at least be paying for groceries out of pocket.

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My head is above water, but I am not doing all the readings. I am assuming I can/will catch up over Reading Week; this may be naive.

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Crises of faith? No. Crises of self? Yes. What I am doing and where this will take me seems much foggier than six months ago. And there are already decisions to be made. Do I take a CPE (clinical pastoral education) unit in the summer, or go on the intensive course to Tanzania? Do I focus on an academic stream, or concentrate in spiritual formation? In the big spectrum of the church, am I conservative or liberal? Is it possible to forge a middle ground?

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Taize prayer continues to be a highlight. I crave this quiet, still space, this community that listens and watches together.