Secular + Sacred Part 2

Today is part two of the summer series. But first!!! I wanted to share  . . . 

1. This thought provoking article on Pixar's Inside Out from NPR's "monkey see"

1. Wendell Berry's, The Unsettling of America. I've been working on this since Christmas. It's been life changing. Truly. 

2. Oil pulling. I resisted this for a long time. . . until I started getting a cavity. I've been oil pulling for almost 4 weeks and boom . . . cavity gone. It's cliche for a reason.

3. THIS fudgesicle recipe. You should totally make them. Here are a few variations I have tried over the past few weeks (both with and without the mint AND both with and without the dates . . . with honey!)

4. Fermented cod liver oil. Worth every penny. You can read why I believe in this stuff here and here

 

Part Two

My arm was bandaged up and I had some gravel stuck in my side. There isn't a cool story. This was simply the result of a  long boarding accident. This was simply me showing off in front of a boy (who now is my husband) and failing miserably. I still have some lingering gravel stuck above my left hip bone for good measure. We could call it, "dating shrapnel."

I was trying to hide my bandaged arm while waiting for an appointment with my english professor. I sat down, surveyed his dimly lit study. It's what I pictured the professor's study in The Magician's Nephew to look like. I felt very much at home. 

We had a (really) small comp. class and our professor asked that we come in during the week to his office to discuss our essays one on one. Very Oxford of him. I was expecting to go in, get my grade, and get out. 

Him: You're a Biblical counseling major?

Me: Yeah.

Him: Why? (considering I wanted nothing to do with counseling . . . that was a good question).

Me: Well, I was told it would be useful in ministry, especially as a woman . . . and I want to do mission work overseas (what 19 year old, church kid doesn't? Let's be real). 

We went back and forth. He asked me some personal questions . . . some questions regarding my educational background. . . some questions regarding my hopes for the future. At this point, setting my paper down, he boldly challenged me to leave the counseling department and instead pursue the humanities, writing in particular. 

Me: But . . . how could I use that for the kingdom? 

I wish I could tell you that was NOT how I responded. But I did. Friends, I am so saddened by this. Yes, I see the Lord's hand weaving and sculpting . . . shaping and sanding. My sweet professor even offered to help me change all of my classes and put me at the top of wait lists. I declined. In true 20/20 . . . I see what a wonderful opportunity I had missed. And this wasn't the first time.

But Tolstoy and Austen . . . Frodo and Sam . . . Orual and Istra . . . what did they have to do with eternity?

Here's the thing, I knew my professor was right. . . I was so very bored in my other classes. I longed to write more, read more, dig more. I can't tell you how badly I wish I had confessed these thoughts to him. I now know he held the key but I also know that I wasn't ready. There was more to the story and this was just the beginning. 

I came to school with every intention of being "better equipped for kingdom work" (I'm really good at speaking "evangelical") and I had been taught that kingdom work included ministry (if I was called to singleness) or motherhood (if I was to be married). Studying English literature did not really fit into either of these categories . . . and considering one of my mentors had sworn of any and all fiction in hopes of "not wasting her time here on earth," I wasn't about to call and ask for advice.  

My poor heart was so torn and it truly kept me up at night. According to what I had been taught in church via sermons, small groups, and (lots) of discipleship . . .  the things of this world were to supposed to grow "strangely dim" IF I loved Jesus. But damn. It was hard. And I was miserable. Harry Potter was just too good to put down. Radiohead stirred my soul (maybe even, dare I say, inspired worship?). Crusty loaves of artisan bread were as beautiful to me as a sunset and I really loved Dorothy Sayers and rainbow sprinkles on a squishy, Saturday morning donut. These things, these are what made me feel alive. These are what made my soul shift. 

As a female, I didn't even consider my unique desires, passions, or longings when choosing my major. Why would I? According to the unspoken code, my true purpose lay in marriage and motherhood. And if I was called to singleness, then surely, I would just become a missionary or give up every night of my week for some sort of ministry opportunity. 

Days in the car, nights stirring in bed . . . I wrested to reconcile the two . . . earth and heaven. That which was here and now with that which was painted as some distant, far off, ethereal realm . . . but it seemed to me that the church circles I ran in were not interested in reconciling them but rather, further separating them. 

Head and heart. Body and soul. Art and science. Words and math. All was divided.