If we were having coffee…
I would want to tell you that graduate school is finally over. I finally submitted all my work in July and found out in August that all the paperwork is squared away!
I wasn’t completely sure if these weekend coffee blogging parties were still hosted somewhere, and was delighted to find out that Alli had taken over hosting them. This blogging community is still very important to me, even though I’ve been silent for far too long. A lot of my thinking has started here. I’ve used posts to get my ideas down. At one point, I completely stalled on a dissertation chapter, and turned to an unpublished post that had sat for months to find a fresh direction.
Interacting with fellow writers on different blogs was one of my first experience of public scholarship as a collaborative movement among different people with diverse lifestyles instead of a stifling monologue coming from researchers.
When I was deep in writing my dissertation, in the dark days that my toddler hated most of all, I felt like I couldn’t write here anymore. Everything was being consumed by the dissertation and hoping to have a job after the dissertation (I do, helping teachers teach, and I love doing that!).
I’ve been wanting to give back to this community that has been part of forming me as a writer and an academic. I wanted to craft shorter versions of my chapters, or something based off my work (because, believe me, you do not want to read it).
But wouldn’t that just be the most stifling of stifling monologues!?
Instead, I want to share with you the ideas and concepts from others that formed me and arrested my thinking throughout the process. My main question was “What is time?”
I know! What a silly prideful question! But here’s the thing, I think now, after wading through poetry and theology and novels, that time is the medium for encounter. Because of time we are able to greet one another with dignity and love. I think we need to think of time not as something we have–that old sifting sands metaphor that runs through an hour glass or our fingers–but as an ever-present invitation to love.
Time is this exciting precipice, each moment, when we can love and greet the other in their humanity.
If we were having coffee, I would want to say to you, especially all of you who are struggling with isolation and losing hope, that you are linked now by time as the medium of encounter to people who are far from you by space.
I wish I had more to share with you now after the dissertation, but these ideas that guided me are better than anything I could say myself. I’ll just give them here as quotes that stayed with me to the point where they became epigraphs in the dissertation:
In love did God bring the world into existence; in love does he guide it during its temporal existence; in love is he going to bring it to that wondrous transformed state, and in love will the world be swallowed up in the great mystery of him who has performed all these things.
— Isaac of Nineveh
On three things the world is stayed; on the Thorah, and on the Worship, and on the bestowal of Kindnesses.— Simeon the Righteous
Pirkei Avot 1:2, translated by Charles Taylor, 1897
All things therefore are charged with love, are charged with God and if we know how to touch them give off sparks and take fire, yield drops and flow, ring and tell of him.— Gerard Manley Hopkins
“Contemplation for Obtaining Love”
Thank you to my fellow bloggers who engaged and let me be part of all the different blog shares and memes when I first started here back in 2015 with my first blog post featuring Br. Monday before he was Br. Monday.
I hope to have more soon.