jumping hoops, jumping brooms

I’m going for a PhD.

I can’t say much beyond that—nothing practical, anyway, because I’ve barely looked at what I’ll need even to apply for this prerequisite Master’s. There’s still the getting-in, the finishing, picking the next program, applying… miles to go before this trail is hiked.

(Mm-hm. Sh! I heard you, and I appreciate your confidence and enthusiasm. Doesn’t matter; I have to Do The Things before they’ll hand me the papers. So, zpp!)

I don’t properly know what the PhD would be in. I don’t know what I’d do with it after. I do have a few ideas for thesis-y projects… this seems to the place where I’ve come down right, because the ideas just pop up.

Those seedling projects keep me anchored.

Because ever since that March commute home from campus, when the epiphany of PhD hit me like a gut-punch (why do God’s communiques arrive with a blow to the solar plexus?) I keep sheering off.

Am I making this up? Ten years ago I thought I’d get an MFA, but that turned out to be an unneeded distraction. What’s the point here? Particularly when I have no end-game, and am notorious for loving school for school’s sake-!

Am I jumping through hoops for the sake of hoop-jumping?

And come to think of it, given the quietly arrogant way I thoroughly rewrote a professor’s assignment and handed it in as if it was what he’d asked for, am I actually going to jump those hoops? Stubbornly going my own way makes the hike much longer. Not to mention imperiling the whole “in good academic standing” aspect of getting degrees-!

I’m bemused. It’s been quite a while since my interior was running on parallel, unconnected tracks. There’s all that reasonable second-guessing grumbling along. And then there’s the memory of the punch, the beyond-bright illumination, the steadily increasing pile of, “Oh, that would make a good book. I want to explore that more carefully.”

I want to be careful in my metaphor. I think that “jumping” is certainly what’s going on. There’s air whistling past my ears.

But I wonder whether, rather than leaping through hoops in the center ring of the circus, I’m jumping over the broom into new commitment, and a new life.

I may not know all the details, but I know what I see is for me. Is my intended. In faith, we’ll work it out as God wills. Let it be so.

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