No Day but Today

I have mentioned before that one of my all-time favorite musicals is RENT.  There is something raw, gritty, and real about it.  Aside from the stereotypical depiction of most theatre folk, the message is one that transcends surface thought.  I like that.

Idina Menzel does a phenom live performance of NO DAY but TODAY, I will provide the link.  No Day but Today

There’s only us
There’s only this
Forget regret– or life is yours to miss.
No other road
No other way
No day but today

There’s only yes
Only tonight
We must let go
To know what is right
No other course
No other way
No day but today

I can’t control
My destiny
I trust my soul
My only hope
is just to be

There’s only now
There’s only here
Give in to love
Or live in fear
No other path
No other way
No day but today
Jonathon Larson 1995

I think for the next couple of blogs I will dissect a bit or two of these lyrics.  There is something that is haunting me about them as of late.
There’s only us
There’s only this
Forget regret– or life is yours to miss.

I stand on the precipice of graduation in a couple of days…72 hours actually.  My fellow graduates and I have been looking forward to and dreading this day since we entered Seminary.  For me, it has been 4 years of the most tumultuous travels I have ever experienced.

There is something academically rigorous about the History, Doctrine, Politics, Ethics, and Theology that we digest.  Pile on top of that the self exploration into personal belief systems, values, traditions, goals, and hopes and you have a recipe for some serious soul-searching.  It never fails that some of the hardest tests and trials often happen during this time.  What appears to others as moments of great growth and maturity can seem like the most lonely and scary of times.  You feel stripped of all that you thought you believed, you have to be able to articulate what you believe and now you have to find answers as to why you do or don’t believe it.

If you choose to go a more pastoral route and incorporate some counseling into the mix, there is the exploration of self and family that takes place.  This is often much more grueling than the constant onslaught of academic papers.  It requires a tough skin to crawl that deep within yourself and stare down some dark places….sometimes you wonder if you will come out on the other side. I wondered that more than once, and there were times I was so angry, confused, frustrated, and hurt that I wanted to throw in the towel, scream a litany of curse words, and stomp out of the building never to return.  There were also times of such great joy that I could not believe that some of what I was seeing and hearing was real.  I have dear, dear, dear sisters whom I would walk through fire, no matter the situation or the time.  I remember conversations in corners of the buildings, tears shed, laughter shared, prayers uttered in earnest.  One of my dearest sisters, I connected the strongest with on the floor of a shower stall in a women’s bathroom.  I am honored to work with her in a ministry role today.  Another is in Canada and has just accepted a position in  an area that speaks to her passion in a way I know she will soar!  Still another has been ordained this year…our MOTHER!!!!  I was privileged to play a small role in her ordination service….these “girls” or “my peeps” are some of the closest people to me.

I am blessed to know these women.  I have had mentors…2 of whom are the closest adult role models I have ever known.  I have specifically dropped to my knees in one of their offices and sobbed my heart out to them.  They have prayed for me, with me, interceded on my behalf countless times, and pushed me in ways I never thought possible.  I am indebted to them.  They would never cash in that debt, rather would expect me to continue in the path of excellence and wellness that they model themselves.  They have helped me articulate a vocation that is both thrilling and terrifying at the same time.  They have my deepest respect, love, admiration, and loyalty–and those items do not come easily.

This Saturday I will cross the threshold, having completed four years of education and training, all while working and helping to raise 2 young boys with my husband.  I have had to say NO to some things in order to complete this mission.  I have also been told NO while on this mission.  I do not like that very well.  Do any of us?  No.  I cross the stage, leaving the guaranteed community I have known for the last four years.  I am…..scared.

Who is this person on the other side of this education and training?  I look back through things that I have written, pictures taken, tests completed, and I wonder….whoa!  Who in the world is this woman?  I entered Seminary a bumbling “kid” at 33ish…and leave knocking on the door to 40…in a couple years.  THAT is quite a chunk of time.  I began this journey not having a clue as to what I was doing….now I have a bit more of a clue.  No one could have prepared me for what I would encounter, tell me the pain I would endure, or the strength I would be provided.  Now I am done…what do I do now?

Most of my classmates are walking into a practice or a congregation.  I am not.  I am blessed to work for a Non-Profit which works in the realm of school teaching gardens as a means of holistic health, wellness, and education.  I work to advocate for community development based on assets that already exist, we do not do for anyone what they can do for themselves.   I enter into the journey of people’s lives and stories, and I am not afraid.

There’s only us….the now, the people, the life in the moment.  Now.  There’s only this… many times people have busted me for living for the future, steeped and stuck in the past, not present to the now.  I need to change that.  There’s only this moment, this second to breathe and be.  I have BIG trouble with that.  There’s only this….  Forget regrets….do I really need to hit that one now?  Forget them or life is (yours and mine ) to miss.

I want to embrace this….to breathe this into my soul….to crawl inside what that looks likes and put it on like a warm blanket ( much like my fuzzy Z blanket made for me by another dear sister).  How do I do that?  How does this woman, on the other side of Seminary change and transformation, crawl underneath that Forgetting Regretting and simply be?  Those that have the answers…speak now or forever hold your peace.

I don’t know.  I think my next blog will explore this idea.  For now, I need to lean into the celebration of a journey’s end and the expectation of the next chapter.  No DAY but TODAY.




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