I was talking to a friend the other day who is contemplating entering studies at a seminary. I love that he called me to get my input into the current plot turn in his life, but am mindful that one of my goals is to become a deeper listener. Which means, DO NOT give advice!
My personality is very verbose. I can talk and talk, write & write, as you know. I also like puzzles, not just the table ones, but life ones. I do those out loud in conversations.
I recall my middle-school friends teasing me, “oh yeah, Jill is Miss Perfect, has to be right about everything.” Turns out, I wasn’t trying to be right, I was looking for someone else’s thoughts to bump up against mine so I could figure out what I believed to be true on whatever subject was at hand. See, a puzzle. At that age, if no one engaged with me, damn straight I figured I had it good and WAS right. Lately, I find myself reminding my older kids that if their middle-school aged brother sounds irritating & arrogant & annoying, he is exactly where he is supposed to be!
(Now I am wondering if my buds remember that old conversation, another puzzle. Maybe I will get another phone call, yay, another conversation!)
But as an adult, I don’t NEED to be right, I just like to look for what is right, and true, and valuable, and excellent, and fun.
So, my friend. I did not wish to give advice but to encourage. I recalled as I listened to him that he is one smart cookie. He’s the type that is intimidating with the breadth of information stored in his head. He uses words that I never hear on a day to day basis and he can share an obscure fact as easy as I can open a can of coke. And it made me think, as much as I don’t know what his next step should be, nor think he needs my opinion on it, this guy is made for that environment. Academia in general seems apropos for him.
I’m fighting with myself tooth and nail about whether to go back to school because I hate that stuff. I like obscure facts as much as my friend, but I don’t want to HAVE to find them. I like the big picture. I like ideas and thoughts more than facts and figures. I like puzzles, not exams! I’m also a “mood” learner, in that I want to know stuff, but not because some other human or institution or system decided it’s valuable information. I look into a variety of subjects because I just “feel like it!” I value my time and don’t “feel like” having to pass someone else’s tests to prove to some employer that I am good enough. To teach, or to work, or whatever it is I need to do to financially support myself.
I hope my friend comes to a decision that pleases him, and I enjoyed bumping up against his thoughts to clarify some of mine. Thanks for calling man, you will do well whatever you decide!