“Everything Is Everything”:
How To Live in Community, How To Belong
As of last Thursday, after a really rough and ostracizing sermon, I made my mind up. I was ready to leave the graduate school program I am currently enrolled in. I was done. I was ready to give up. I couldn’t see why God would want me to suffer.
On Monday, I absolutely felt as if I “lost it”, for lack of a better term, in one of my classes. I couldn’t find community, I explained, because I didn’t see that there was any for me. I didn’t feel a sense of belonging. I felt alone. I felt isolated. I felt depressed. I couldn’t see why God would want me to suffer.
I explained that it was everyone. It was everything. It was the pristine university that I chose to attend. It was the only one I applied to. I was so happy, actually incredibly overjoyed, when I received my acceptance letter. I felt loved. Why couldn’t I feel that now? Why couldn’t I feel the love that I felt when I visited? Why is now different? Why would God allow me to suffer and do nothing?
It is now, almost a week after I confirmed that nothing would change my mind, that I realize there is a reason. This reason is the reason why I am still here. The same thing drew me to my program is the same thing that is planting me on the solid ground, that which carries me. It is a sense of belonging and community that I do not understanding. As the preacher put it best in our chapel service yesterday, everything is everything. What has been is what will be.
My ancestors have experienced oppression. My parents have experienced oppression. They have experienced oppression and so have I. The struggle is the same in many ways, yet so different. We are all struggling, but we are all progressing, as the preacher proclaimed on that bright, sunny, and crisp Tuesday morning. I began to accept that life is, indeed, cyclical and not linear. A glimmer of hope began to permeate my being. I spent the past week preparing to inform the dean that it was my plan to leave. That has changed.
Faith is my everything. God is my everything. Praying is my everything. I have loved God, but I have not trusted God. Because I could not trust God, I could not have faith in God. I sometimes questioned if I loved God or if God could even love me. As Sobonfu Somé’s book title reads, I felt as if I was too far, as if I was “falling out of grace” over and over again. I reached a place where I felt like God abandoned me. I felt as if God didn’t care about my suffering and I was indeed frustrated.
In the sermon offered yesterday, I learned that it is very possible that I may not see the fruits of my labour in this lifetime. However, I still need to fight. I was called to this place for a reason. It’s not about my feelings. It’s not about how anyone else feels. It’s about how God is working in my life, and God brought me to a place in my life where I was sent here. Now, my job is to make the most of it and to work as hard as I can to figure out what I was sent to do.
I wasn’t sent to divinity school because it was easy. I was sent to be formed and changed just as much as I will change and form the school. Everything has a purpose. Everything is everything. God is everything. God is love. I am here. I will be just fine.