Today I am a student, writing a research paper about suicide. Tomorrow I will still be a student, but in two weeks I will no longer be a student. In two weeks my time at SPU will be finished. In two weeks I will be leaving this place, this season. Turning a page to write the next chapter. Closing the covers of this book and opening the empty pages of another. Today I am a student but that identity is quickly slipping away from me.
This doesn’t mean I am regretting my decision or that I made a wrong choice. This choice isn’t about right or wrong, it’s just something I have to do. I am not sure why but there is an unquenchable desire in me, a driving force, that won’t let me stay here. It doesn’t matter how hard leaving is, what drives me tells me the adventure ahead is going to be worth it.
There is also a sense within my heart that the purpose of my time at SPU is over. What was to be learned and accomplished here has been learned and accomplished. Yes, I could stay another year just to get the paper that officiates these accomplishments, but that would be staying to long in a place I don’t need to stay at. It would be lingering to long in a chapter that can already be summed up.
I do not want to turn back. I do not want to change my mind. Though I am sad and grieving the loss of this time I do want to forge ahead and see what new adventures are out there. The force driving me isn’t abusive or dragging me somewhere I don’t want to go, it is beckoning me and gently urging me; nothing harsh or deceptive about it. More like a simple invitation to go into the unknown waters and test their current. The bay I have been in is great and has helped me learn to swim. If I stay to long in it’s calm waters, though, I fear I will grow lazy. It is time to grow new muscles and past new tests. The time is ripe. Jumping in now is good and sweet.
I cannot help but long for a celebration, though. I am leaving early and without a diploma. To some this appears to be giving up or failing at a task. In my heart I know this is a lie. I have graduated from a season of life so it is time to move to another; winter can’t last forever, even in Narnia. I can’t help but wish that could be celebration of spring coming. No congratulations or graduation gifts are going to happen, though. There is no letter to send out to friends and family to ask them to celebrate something I accomplished. What would I say? Congratulate me because I realized I don’t have to be here any more. For some reason I don’t think most people would get it.
Today I want someone to say they are proud of me. I want someone to say “way to go, you accomplished something great!” Not because I doubt that I did something great, but because I want someone to recognize the hard work I have put in and validate a celebration.
I miss my dad, today and I wish he could tell me this. I am scared to tell him I am dropping out because I fear his response. I fear he would tell me that I lack commitment and I gave up to quickly. I fear he would not be proud of me at all but would instead be disappointed and angry. So I haven’t told him. I don’t want him to crush the celebration and pride I feel for myself. I don’t want to risk that. He is the one I want to hear those words from, though.
Today I am a student, writing a research paper. In two weeks I am graduating from a chapter of life. In two weeks I begin a new chapter. In two weeks I will celebrate for myself the woman I have grown into; I have become more myself than I have ever been before. I am more fully alive, more fully Joy, than I was three years ago. The places I have been, people who have graced my life, books I have read, and lessons I have learned have each shaped me. They shaped me by chipping away lies and burdens stuck on me to reveal a beautiful and truthful woman: Joy. I am more Joy than ever and that is something to celebrate. In two weeks I won’t be flipping a tassel or getting a diploma, but I will be graduating from a phase of education that is much harder than an undergraduate degree. The School of Life will be awarding Joy a diploma worth more than a BA, MA or PhD: a degree in living, because that’s what I have learned. I have learned how to be alive. The beauty of this is that I will always be learning how to live. Or am I learning how to die?
Love to you all,