Mile 13 of the marathon….

There comes a time in every seminarian’s life when she asks herself, “What the heck am I doing at this place, sitting on a hard chair in a cold library, reading arcane stuff, when I should be out there DOING something for someone?” It’s like being on Mile 13 of the California International Marathon in Sacramento, California. That’s when one does some quick math–while one is running across Sunrise Blvd.–and realizes that 13 is only HALF of 26 miles.

At times, all this work seems pointless. I suspect, however, that those times come precisely when we are faced with an avalanche of the more daunting tasks, the ones that make us feel slightly panicked, because someone is going to find out that we really can’t handle this work, that all those half-formed ideas in our heads for papers are not yet gelling into whole ideas that we can turn into a paper and turn in.


Yes, we’re at the end of the semester, and no matter how hard I have been working this semester (and I have been doing the reading), I still have a LOT left to do. I have dispatched all the little papers and assignments for two classes, Systematic Theology I and Principles and Practices of Preaching.

But I still have the following:

a 10-page paper for Anglican History and Theology I on a topic of my choice. (In my case, the theology of John Donne as reflected in his poetry. He’s not as Calvinist as they say….) by Dec. 10.

A 25-page paper (that’s not a typo. 25 pages) for my Doctrines of God seminar on a topic of my choice. So I’m writing about the work of feminist theologians (who prefer to be called theologians who are bringing up gender issues) and their work on metaphors/models for God and how they affect our world. I have been researching this baby for about six weeks now. Sigh. Due Dec. 13.

A final exam in Systematic Theology that covers about 600 pages of readings by Karl Barth and Karl Rahner. Dec. 14

A 5-7 page paper for Anglican History and Theology I (yes, again) on something like what Anglicanism means to me that incorporates a lot of the sources from the WHOLE semester. By Dec. 17.

Some kind of reflection paper and mid-year report for my internship practicum. I don’t even know when that is due and what’s supposed to be in it.

Do you see why I might be sitting on a hard chair in a cold library, thinking, “What the heck am I doing at this place, studying this arcane stuff, when I should be out there DOING something for someone?”

Yup. Send chocolate, please. At least 65% cacao.

6 Thoughts

  1. Thanks, Bob! Your prayers (and maybe the Gatorade, and maybe Pam saying, “Either quit or finish!”) got me through mile 16 on Marathon #1. (I’ve switched to chocolate for paper-writing.)

  2. Hang in their you warm-hearted Franciscan. I believe all things will be well for you. I will send off some chocolate (65%) soon and hopefully, it will reach you before the 26th mile. Thumbs up! and Big Hugs. Peace, Joy and Love, Tina Ferriot Tssf.

  3. I was thinking about you this Sunday when I saw all the racers for the CIMS and missing you. And now reading all your assignments due, I see why you relate this to your running. Just remember after this, all you have to do is make it to Loehmann’s Plaza and then it is only 6 miles away. You can do it. (due you hear the cow bells)!!!!

  4. Thanks, Mihoa. I think my Loehmann’s Plaza will be AFTER I turn in the Doctrines of God paper and BEFORE I take the Systematic Theology final. I am HALFWAY through the Anglican paper on John Donne–yay–without saying much yet–not yay. So I’d say I’m past the roosters of old Fair Oaks, across Sunrise Boulevard, and maybe in that really posh part of Fair Oaks now with their fake Tudor homes. It’s going to be a long, long week.

  5. You go girl because you are called. I know it when I see it. The Lord also would have you see–“see a branch of an almond tree.” Keep up the good race.

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