I'm finished with my first semester at the University of Montevallo and I've had a beautiful time. Today, I'm going to bundle up my class notes and writing and store them away until I need them to study for comps. I am exhausted. There is a good chance I'll make a 4.0 this semester. I dare to hope.
Next semester, I'll be taking Post-Colonial Literature and Ecocriticism. This will be difficult and I will learn a lot. We're reading Salmon Rushdie and Wendell Berry (and many, many other people.) I've read Wendell Berry, but not in an academic context. This should prove to be interesting. (I am surprised to see him make the jump, frankly. Whereas some people read Wendell Berry and say "I love Wendell Berry!" English students are more likely to really dig into the text and not even talk about the author. You get at the knowledge from another angle.)
I've met many new friends that I hope to see over the holiday. So much diversity that is good for me. So many really kind people who have sharp minds and honest hearts. And who never ever ever talk about Red Mountain Church. (Or would really know what to say if they did.) And this is a pretty good thing. For the first time in a long long time, I'm being judged outside of a church context and it is refreshing to just be Susan the Person. Nobody cares where I go to church or where I went before that or before that. Susan the Person exists in the now.
Nobody ever says "grace" or "struggle" or "community." To be clear, I am desperate for real fellowship with other Christians, but I am much relieved to have an escape from that particular language. In some context, these words are devoid of meaning for me anyway and they taste like sawdust in my mouth.
And the most amazing thing is that I haven't met a single person who doesn't respect my faith. I'm not getting any of the Anti-Christian backlash I would have expected and I have almost decided that it doesn't really exist. Christians hate Christians. I'm working on personal integrity and the confidence to just say what I believe without fear of judgement. I am working on being an "integrated" person if that makes sense.
In our Bible study, we talked about prayer and how the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with a language above and separate from human language. (Groanings too deep for words. Isn't that beautiful?) This is what I'm counting on. My faith has become simple and necessary. I have great need of simple things. And in some ways, while I'm more confident than ever before, I am also more aware of my fragility and my great need to be prayed for.