Sunday, January 27, 2013


Here I am, wearily marking the advent of a new class term.  The January term wrapped up on Wednesday, so Thursday and Friday constituted a 'break' between terms.  Woo hoo.
Wearily, I must say, because sleep is still an elusive thing these days.  Things are better than they were a couple of weeks ago, but I still don't have a whole lot of success getting much sleep before the legs start going berserk and demanding to run a marathon immediately, while the rest of my body is asking if my legs would kindly shut up and quit causing such a disturbance so we can get to sleep like a normal human being.  Where Friday night was actually not too bad, last night was pretty horrible, albeit (I think) for a more mundane reason: too much caffiene, too late.  Fortunately, there wasn't a whole lot that need doing urgently today, so sleepwalking through it was not a big problem.

The timing of this is of course horrendous.  The one thing you want to be able to do in recovery from any kind of significant surgery, I'd think, is sleep.  And here I am fighting to get any sleep at all.  It is possible that the restless-leg problem is related to the surgery; one thing that can set it off is the process of coming off painkillers, and I certainly was on those immediately after the surgery and immediately after returning home (I don't remember Christmas much at all).  Still, what with my body still trying to get its act together and me trying to carry on with my studies as if nothing were amiss, I'd like to be able to sleep at night.  I'm old that way.

This unwanted detour on my fool's errand has caused me to think about the timing of things a lot lately. For example: had I not taken off on this fool's errand and were I still teaching, this was the year I'd have been up for tenure.  The mind boggles to think what that process would have been like if I were going through cancer treatment as I have been at the same time.  Throw in that one of my colleagues just went through cancer treatment last year, and I would guess that the whole climate would have been quite edgy.

Of course, there's no guarantee that the timing of my cancer diagnosis would have been the same.  It might have been diagnosed earlier, or (horrible thought, this) it might not even have been diagnosed yet.  Financially I'd have been better off, though this would have been a major hit no matter where I was in life.  I have to think that balancing teaching with all this treatment and surgery would have been a lot more difficult than balancing being a student with it has been.  But I don't know that for sure.

Stepping back from health issues, the whole issue of why I'm here now is always fertile ground for wondering.  Why did this jolt of a calling have to happen now?  Why did it have to wait until I'd finally settled in at a place (town, school, community of colleagues, the whole deal) where after a rather peripatetic life I was quite ready to settle down and get old and fat(ter) and generally make a life?  Why not sooner, before I had made that move, or even before I got into the teaching career at all?  Or even before I took off for that Ph.D.?  Or how about later, after I'd had a nice long satisfying career teaching and researching?

I've done one seminary degree before, a Master of Church Music degree, at a seminary in a denomination I no longer embrace.  Was I so broken and damaged by that experience that I was missing out on a call then?  (I certainly wasn't thinking fond thoughts about preachers at that point, I can admit that much.)  Did I have to make a transition into a new denominational home first?  I suppose that makes sense, but still, did it have to take this long?

Or was there something about the musicological career that was necessary to prepare me for this particular move?  And if so, for goodness' sake what?  Up till now I've tended to think this was the case, and at some point it would become clear.  I'm halfway through the degree, and clues aren't necessarily revealing themselves.

Let me be clear; this is not a complaining post.  I am still tremendously awed and overjoyed to be where I am and to be among the people I am among.  Still, the fog isn't lifting in some areas, and my nature is such that I can't help but wonder how all of this is going to fit together, or when.

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