I talked to my friend Laura yesterday after not talking to her for a year. She had gotten married and moved to KY with her new husband. I had decided to risk it all and move to Seattle for this Graduate program. She called and quickly jumped into the very loaded questions of how are you/ how is your school? I just laughed. How do I begin to find language around these questions that could suffice for a time that has been so transformational.
I attempted to try and explain the process of deconstruction that happens in your first year, and the hope of rebuilding from a new kind of foundation, but even as I spoke this out loud it made no sense. When does demolishing ever make sense anyways? There is nothing polite about breaking paradigms and ideals that you’ve lived under to keep you from risking everything. It always leaves a heap of debris.
It reminds me of the volunteer work I did after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. We would go to worst districts where the levees had broke and consumed neighborhoods with a fury. Many of the houses we had to gut all the way to the bone just to see where we could began to build from. It was strange to see what was once a home so anorexic. I remember feeling so overwhelmed by the violence of the storm, even fearful of the vacancy that left once lively neighborhoods hauntingly still like a zombie town. Where do you begin to start with heaps of rubble that are twice the size of you, and all you have is a measly shovel? This is a question I come back to as I face the broken pieces of my story.
My first-year processing has been full of shoveling, often surprised by the lack of work I had done around my story before I arrived here. I have, at times, felt a bit stunned like looking at the flooded house needing to be gutted and not knowing where to begin. Deconstruction has looked like having my house gutted, a painful, but necessary process to get to the foundation in order to rebuild. It has been a year of clearing out fantasies of my story that sat like soggy, moldy furniture; it has been about seeing what I could salvage from the wreckage.
The scriptures say that ‘our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,’ and we know that Jesus spoke of the temple ‘being torn down and rebuilt’ (John 2:19). I am by no means a theologian, but cannot help but think of this years process of tearing down, and the hope of ‘being raised’ as the Gospel message. I would have never, before this year, understood the necessary process of ‘tearing and healing,’ (Hosea 6:1) or being gutted to be filled as what it means to be acquainted with Christ, or as part of the process of suffering, death, and resurrection.
O my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Now we wait in agony, pain, tension, tearing of flesh. We go to hell and darkness.
My soul waits, yes, my soul waits for the morning, more then watchman wait, my soul waits.
Shh…don’t rush the resurrection.