I debated between titling this post Terror and Fully Alive and settled on the third, Apprehension. Last night at small group we had an opportunity to go off by ourselves and ponder worship, and to do so in our individual way. I ended up leaning against the wall, hugging my Bible in the silence, thinking. It’s the type of prayer I prefer most: conversational thinking, not presenting a laundry list of items I’d like to see happen, but working things out with the Spirit. Because he can keep up with me, I jumped from Vidanric and my sheer pleasure of reading books like Court Duel by Sherwood Smith, to my apprehension about surviving in grad school, to my confidence that I will get the job done, because I always do, to the subsequent concern of being too absorbed in my studies that I would then forget God, but if this is what God has gifted me to do, if this mind is being developed to its fullest, if this is what I purely enjoy doing, then is not the pleasure I derive from reading, writing, and discussing what I read and write, also an act of worship? For more often than not, I learn for the sake of learning, not out of selfish ambition, with a belief also that all Truth is God’s Truth. God is not forgotten in my studies, even if he is not obvious to outside observers.
And then I remembered how at Oxford, a common refrain in our prayer group was that we wanted to be truly alive, to thrive, and live with joy. It is a desire I have carried since, also with the knowledge that I was close to that ideal while at Oxford… but since then have only been half-alive. There were moments of joy in Shawnee, in San Antonio, in South Carolina: laughing and having tea with Kelly or Sarah, any conversation with Laura, escaping into my own created worlds of Orion or Jazz or Bede, reading books that engage my imagination, being fully involved in my work. This past weekend, I have felt the most alive in weeks, all while sitting in my room, stationary, solitary, reading Crown Duel and Court Duel. But to any other serious reader, they would know that I was not still, and I was not alone.
At first glance it seems odd, that an activity so still and silient and solitary would be where I find greatest fufilment, but then to me it doesn’t, for the whole mind is engaged, and the heart becomes involved, too. So I look to Scotland with hope, that I may thrive there, for this is the life that I have chosen: one that pursues literature, both the study and the creation of it. And it seems perfectly natural for me to choose medieval literature, for where else can I find better food for the imagination than dragons and knights, chivalry and quests, proud warriors and heroic speeches?