Ask anyone on campus how they are doing and the response will inevitably involve something to do about death, hell, or research papers. It is the week before finals at SPU. Third quarter finals—the final finals. I have certainly been feeling the Pull these past couple of weeks. The Pull is the raw gravitational force that constantly tugs at the corners of your mind saying Go to bed. Just go to bed! Wake up in a week. Finals will be done and it will be summer. Oh it will be summer! But the Pull is a lie. Last night I got a solid seven and a half hours of sleep and still I awoke feeling as if God, going for the extra point after a touchdown, had kicked me intending to fly me victoriously through the goal posts but in fact sending me on a beautiful arc ending in the unforgiving track that surrounds the football field. The crowd stops cheering and sits down knowing that their team will lose because of that one lost point.
Tonight I went to a coffee shop that closes at 1:00 am in Capital Hill with some friends to finish off an assignment due tomorrow. Due to the craziness of the day and the week—read the chapters, write the reflection, map out your fourteen-page paper on the Brothers Karamazov that’s due in less than a week, get to a Post Office to drop off the form that was due a week ago, rush back to speak at an admissions panel, go to the Hall council meeting, and try to polish off the 3rd movement of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto—I was bordering on an embarrassing meltdown while attempting to read about China’s economic turnaround in the late 20th century.
I unfairly hoped that someone would interrupt me.
One thing that I do, and love doing, is called “one on ones.” All it is is getting a meal or coffee with someone you probably wouldn’t ordinarily eat with. Last week I had a breakfast one on one with a girl who I had been wanting to know better. We ran into each other a lot this past year and had some solid conversations in passing, but we never sat down to eat together. She is a force of love unlike anything I am used to. She is constantly in communion with the Holy Spirit. She prays for people in the library or in line for food at dinner. I went to Bubble Tea with friends a couple nights ago and saw her praying for a complete stranger. I really admire that. It scares me.
We spoke a little about our food before she asked me How are you? I laid out my anxiety about school, my personal life, finishing the year up, and the summer ahead, in which I will probably be working fifty five hours a week. She listened, nodding. When I finished she thought a long time. Then she said, “Have you ever felt like you have been in love with Jesus?” I consider myself to be a Christian: I believe in God, read the Bible (although perhaps, too infrequently), ascribe to the Nicene and Apostles’ creeds, and see God working in my life and changing me. But I couldn’t answer the question. Maybe it was the context of the conversation; the question was an apparent non sequitur. I thought a while, said a tentative yes, and explained my hesitation. For the rest of the meal I decided to just listen as she spoke about Jesus and prayed.
Leaving the dining hall I felt a sense of peace and intimacy with God that I rarely feel. It stayed with me over the next couple of days.
Recently I’ve been listening to Jakob Dylan’s “Women and Country” a lot. I bought it a couple of years ago and it has become a favorite. One of the songs is entitled “Holy Rollers for Love.” I am probably missing the purpose of the song, but the line that sticks out to me is the final line: “The world is crazy and making us holy rollers for love.”
2:20 am. Good night. *kick*