There was really not much that could excite me about leaving Lostine. It still is quite a lamentable absence for me. There were trails unhiked, snowshoes never worn, sermons left unpreached, songs that hadn't been sung... but one particularly dear old lady always said "we're gonna miss you like heck, but you gotta go and be with folks yer age."
Now they may not all be my age group, but all my fellow-students are definitely my peers. And seminarians are GREAT to be with. In the three days I've been home, I've gotten into soteriology at the dinner table, denominationalism around the fireplace, and the Pauline flesh-spirit dichotomy (with dances and shrieks of delight, no less) in the kitchen. All these BRAINS all around me, I love them!
The other new development is that my community house, while it has never been likeminded on all things, is currently likeminded on one big topic: music. Last night was our designated bonding time, and after we'd eaten, decorated everything decorateable (six ladies, cumulatively, result in a large collection of xmas ornaments to be hung), affirmed one another, sang and prayed ---- then we kept singing. I had my guitar out and expected that when we hit the Indigo Girls songs, signaling the end of formally-designated-bonding-time, the group would disperse and leave only a few with me. I assumed that what I wanted to do was not what the other folks wanted to do... an experience I've had often in my life... and I guess I looked a little silly with my mouth gaping open when I realized they all wanted to go through my music notebook and sing my favorite songs with me all night. We kept at it for a few hours!
It was also great to go to my home church St. Andrew Presbyterian, and to be INVITED to play tambourine (I missed that this year) and to belt as loudly as I could.
I guess the thing that's hitting me is... there IS a group of likeminded people, more or less gathered around me here, and the experience of being with them is a precious and wondrous thing I missed (for the most part) during my year living alone in Lostine. I have learned to appreciate the richness of a group gathered together, not to take it for granted as I used to. In fact I learned that lesson about many things. For example, there is live music every night of the week in Fairfax here, and I never used to attend much. Out in the mountains of Oregon, you go to live music whenever you can, because there may not be any next week, much less every day. I hope that I have learned to prioritize better, and one of my priorities for the rest of my time at seminary is to APPRECIATE these fabulous brains and souls gathered around me.