On Mondays, I am simplifying. Here I shall give you small, little glimpses into the manuscript draft I am working on for my forthcoming book. As always, the comment section is open to discuss these strands of thought.
Antonia and I sit in Common Grounds on the last day of classes, two weeks before we shall graduate from our undergraduate degree in, for lack of a better term, books. We only half talk to each other, doing our best to actually accomplish something other than chatter, a looming final paper due the next week that we pretend to work on, when all the while what we're really doing is eavesdropping on the first date unfolding in front of us and, twenty minutes later, the flock of graduate student TAs who come in to grade papers and complain about the inability of the junior in college to construct a thesis statement and who speak to each other as if they were being graded on their ability to utter the word epistemological with the same practiced casualness as I use to order my coffee.
Eventually, the lack of work being done is obvious and we break down and talk. We gush over our favorite parts of books and think through the hurtles of the oral defense we have to sit in three days, when all those books in our major of books are supposed to be recalled and articulated into a seamless whole. We talk about postmodernism and how we can't stand to read Hobbes. Antonia talks about arranging books according to who needs to be talking to whom, dead or alive, and how Martin Luther and St. Teresa have been locked in wordless proximity for the whole semester.
Because our conversations turn this way, we talk about the Eucharist in the twelfth century, about Real Presence, about grace, and then about the timeliness of God. This invariably gets us talking about how we came into Baylor determined that we were secure in not only our Faith but also denominational allegiances--me the Southern Baptist and she the confused-free-church-somewhat-charismatic. We appropriately juxtapose this thought process with wondering what day the Bishop is coming to bless those being confirmed in the Episcopal church we both now attend and thinking through how our families will fare when they come to church with us on Mother's Day, the day after our graduation, which happens liturgically to be the last Sunday in Eastertide before the Ascension of Christ.
"It's weird," Antonia says, "The process to here has been so tenuous. I can see all the places where it could have gone differently. They're just lily pads along the way."
We talk about free will then, about how we have it but He has it, about how we're here because He brought us here even though we chose, and that hedge of protection that flies around evangelical prayers the way give us Thy peace does in the Episcopal comes to my mind.
I think about it on the way back to my dorm, on my way upstairs. I think about how I am grateful that God has set me on this path, has been my hedge of protection, has let me read this saint and that one, has given me the lens He has given me to have. But then I realize that there's something outside of my choices in it and His guiding of me. For there were professors and authors and parents and mailmen who had been uniquely formed, in no small part, to get me here. And they had their people getting them here too. And I keep tracing it back like a huge genealogy of the human race, back and further back until Adam and Eve, then further still, to that time before there was time, before the foundations of the world, where God foreknew it all and decided, in wild mercy, to include me in the narrative He was going to unfold.
Yes, the whole process from start to finish is tenuous. It's the lily pad paradox: we're leaping from instability to instability like we have a choice in our landing, which we do, in part, but we forget that spacial positioning is more than left or right or across. It's up and down, too.
And the Water keeps holding us up.