here’s to you, year one.

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Today, I finished my first year of grad school. After a week of non-stop studying and three days of three-hour exams and another five hours of attempting to force my tired, muddled brain to focus, I turned in my last paper at 4:33 pm and then maybe starting crying a little bit in the library because of all the feelings.

It’s done.

First year is over.

And I’m not really sure how to process that or what to do with it. I think first, I want to sleep and watch a lot of netflix and go for a run and do laundry and wash my sheets. There’ll probably be some more crying at some point. But for now, I took a shower and went grocery shopping and I am happily sitting on my couch, simply delighting in the fact that I don’t have any studying to do.

It’s been a long, long year. And it has been…a  lot of things.

But we survived and we maybe even thrived and we finally made it to the other side and now I am one-third of the way to having my M.Div.

So here’s to you, year one.

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Here’s to all the books I read and all the words I wrote and all the grace I received the times I didn’t read the books or write the words. Here’s to Thomas Aquinas and Saint Athanasius and Lauren Winner and Abraham Joshua Heschel and Anne Lamott. Here’s the professors we loved and the professors we loved less, and the lessons we learned from them both about how to teach and lead and use power responsibly. Here’s to “suffice it to say” and “my teacher, Brevard Childs” and church history memes and here’s to the lectures with sing-alongs and the lectures we fell asleep in.

Here’s to the days filled with laughter and joy and delight, and here’s to the bad days, the crying-on-the-couch bad days and the pit-of-the-stomach-feeling anxiety days. Here’s to realizing that the bad days don’t make me a bad person, and here’s to asking for help. Here’s to the people who helped me and and held my hand and walked me towards healing, literally as well as metaphorically.

Here’s to late nights and early mornings. Here’s to coffee at midnight and a million cups of mint tea in the morning. Here’s to chapel and here’s to the days we skipped chapel. Here’s to pre-lecture popsicles and friday night dinners and movie nights that turned into hours of conversation and never getting around to the movie. Here’s to pink hair dye and an impulsive self-given haircut and a new tattoo. Here’s to dark lipstick and high heels and feeling fearlessly like myself.

Here’s the new friends who loved me so well in Durham and the old friends who loved me so well from afar. Here’s to the painful process of pulling up roots and the slow, steady process of putting down roots. Here’s to the people who fed me and hugged me and spent countless hours in the library with me. Here’s to twitter friends and snapchats and texting from across the lecture room. Here’s to the people I loved from day one and here’s to the unexpected kindred spirits. Here’s to a first-year class that somehow went from feeling divided and clique-y to feeling like a giant family – a messy family, yes, but a family nonetheless.

Here’s to the questions, and the answers, and the questions again, because I’ve learned that it’s more about the asking and wondering and becoming and unbecoming than the answering. Here’s to feeling lost and here’s to somehow feeling found again. Here’s to the things we took on and the things we decided to let go of. Here’s to the challenge and the pain, here’s to the doubt and the frustration. Here’s to the humbling and the un-doing and the uncomfortable.

Here’s to you, year one. It’s been brutal and beautiful.

And here’s to the next two years and all the adventures they will bring.

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