Well, I’m back. It was nice being home, but I have one more semester to complete in Berkeley, California. John and I got up extra early yesterday morning in order to meet my friend and fellow student, Chelsea, at Southcenter Mall at 5:45am. Then, Chelsea and I began the 12 hour drive (13 hours with stops) to Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.
The drive was, unfortunately, somewhat eventful. It began in the Chehalis area when I was stopped by a police officer for speeding. It was on a short 60 mph stretch of highway that is sandwiched between two long stretches of 70 mph. I didn’t notice the change in speed, and they got me. In Oregon, the “check engine” light came on, and so we stopped at a gas station/mechanic shop for a quick inspection. All appeared to be ok, so we continued on our route.
In California, the Superbowl began between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. Chelsea is not a football fan, but I am. And I’m from Baltimore. So, we found ESPN radio and listened to the game. Chelsea was such a good sport, listening with me, asking about what was going on, and even rooting with me for a little while. She said she really wasn’t rooting for anyone, but I distinctly remember her yelling, “No!” when the 49ers scored. I was hoping to make it to Berkeley in time to watch the end of the game with my dorm, but it was not looking good. The game was moving along pretty quickly, looked to end between 6:30 and 7, and we would probably arrive around 6:45pm. But then the Superbowl power outage came. I’m convinced it happened for me. We made it to PLTS before the 4th quarter began, and I ran inside to root for my team. A game that had started out as an easy blowout for the Ravens had turned into a very close, nail-biting game. Thankfully, though, the Ravens won.
But I didn’t start this blog to talk about football (GO RAVENS!!). I felt like writing when I got up this morning, showered, dressed, and then opened my curtains to look outside. That’s when it really hit me. I’m back. Back to the PLTS community. Back to the studies. Back to the loneliness away from my husband and pets. I really do enjoy the PLTS community and the studies, but I really miss John, Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm, and Carmel. As I lay down to sleep last night, I had a sudden urge to go say my nightly good night cuddle with Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, and then to cuddle up to my husband and fall asleep. But none of them are here. As I look out my window this morning, I see and remember the regular fog rolling on, inhabiting this silent, beautiful monastery-type campus on the top of the Berkeley hills. I remember the serenity that I often felt, the peacefulness and calmness that often overtakes me, here. And the loneliness.
I suppose “bittersweet” is a good term. It is sweet to see the friends I made last semester, and to hear about their lives over the past couple months. But it is bitter to be away from those who I love so dearly. Yet, it is sweet to be here, among the fog, trees, and sun that will come later. To relax in these hills and ponder God’s many meanings and messages. It is a blessing to be here. If only I didn’t come alone.