the unravelling

There was an alumni day at our old theological college yesterday, so we made our first visit since Andy had graduated (the year after I did). I am so very glad we went, although I found it an emotional experience. It started even before we got there, the aching familiarity of the roads and the places which signified we were nearly there, things I used to note delightedly on returning at the beginning of each term. Because it was such a formative place for me, such a beloved place, and although it wasn’t always easy, it was always somewhere I was utterly real, and safe to be so. And so it began before we even got there, a kind of unravelling, as the familiarity of such a place stole over me and made me realise how weary I really was – all the way through – and I was fighting tears even then.

The talks given by former lecturers – no longer there now but familiar to us – tugged at me, in various ways. I remained in this tearful state off and on all day, simultaneously laughing at it, self conscious and embarrassed by it – and yet I don’t think they were destructive, unhelpful tears. It was more like suddenly finding an old, familiar, utterly trustworthy friend and falling into their arms in relief for a while – utterly honest about where you’ve been and how you are feeling.

The fatigue has become such a dominant factor in life, and I have gone on stoically, because I have to, but so often it frustrates me. Yesterday this welled up – but turned into something gentler, healthier, in a moment of utter safety. This was the place which always managed to tenderly uncover my bruises – those known to me and those not known, and by the support of friends found, brought healing and a sense of discovery.

And the buzz of being back in an environment where I learned so much – and loved to learn so much! It reminded me, impacted me, reinvigorated me for study of that which used to inspire and challenge me. I expected not to feel the same old fit – I have changed, and so has the college, a different student body, some changes in lecturers (but so wonderful to see the ones that remain!), but instead I found myself feeling a perfect fit, going back and feeling the same old feeling of both comfort and challenge, safety and discovery. I’m hoping to carry this feeling on…not to lose it, but recapture a part of me which has been worn down, worn out, left behind and given up…and if that journey occasionally means my eyes fill with tears of relief, pain and joy all at once, so be it.

Yesterday: 5/10, medium
Today: 4/10, medium – high

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2 thoughts on “the unravelling

  1. I’m glad that you were able to experience the joy of returning to someplace familiar, where you knew that you were safe and accepted. That sort of experience can provide it’s own sort of healing, as you’ve seen.I haven’t bothered returning to my old college for some time – partly because I got sick of it when I served as a staff member in various departments after I got married. There’s a difference between being a student and being a clerk that the students, the professors, and the administration don’t really care about that much. But there are some friends that I have from my college days who hold a special place in my heart because I feel so accepted by them that it’s almost like “going home” when I see them. It’s a great feeling, and one I wish that I could duplicate more often. 🙂

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