Decades later, the paper is still good. While I am essentially who I was then, I have been refined, sharpened as iron sharpens iron, by a host of people in and out of my life. Some I wish could see me now, not because I succeeded the way they wanted me to, but because I’m alive to tell my story against some strong odds.
I struggle with the loss of my original project. It was a Biblical feminist view that was to analyze John’s Gospel. I feel like I quit and gave up. Yet, on some level, I believe my grad school was becoming a bastion of liberal thought and ideals. The Bible was just an old book for fuddy-duddies and extremists. Had I continued, I would never have finished, and I know that my failed first marriage had many people sensing my academic doom.
I know too that it probably looked so ballsy to so many of my professors and friends. It was truly arrogant in a way to think that the structures of man could ever add or subtract anything from the Word of God. The communications profs were probably so scared of the theological content, and my friends probably couldn’t see why I’d want to tackle theology. I guess my hope was that someday, smart, beautiful women would see Jesus as loving their intellect and academic fervor as much as some denominations valued their bodies as incubators.
I also feel that somehow I gave into the mommy path too soon. I would not want my kids not in the world; the joy they’ve brought into my life along with the simplicity of mass chaos has given me a kind of sweet pleasure I would never want to trade for anything. Yet, I grieve what might have been had I pushed myself harder and not married so young. Yeah, hindsight is 20-20, and it gets clearer as the years go by. I also struggle with straddling the world of the stay-at-home mom and the working woman, never fitting in either category, always either idolized or demonized.
On a more internal level, for years, I felt I had sold out, betraying my Lord much like Peter or Judas. I think I’ve come to peace that the project was not the end goal. The goal was the process, living daily as an intellectual Christian and struggling to understand what the meaning was along the way. My hope is that Christ was always reflected in my thoughts and words as best I understood Him, that I’ve shown growth over the decades so that although I see in a glass darkly, my glass might be a little less dark.
All that said, with the passing of time, I’ve come to peace that I am now within the will of God, whatever that is. I am the writer I always felt He wanted me to become. I walk in the “world” with a day job that allows me to explore how to be a Christian without ever speaking His Name (not sure it’s truly possible). The pain no longer drives me to late night despair and serves as a springboard into so many pieces and thoughts and ideas that I can barely keep the pace set before me by the Holy Spirit.
I would love to have even a draft of the old project. I would like to update it and sell it as an ebook. But I think I want to strip it of all the Biblical feminist agenda and just look at it as a piece of writing from within the hybridized rhetorical framework I struggled to verbalize back then. Yes, there would still be some feminist themes — Christ came to free even women — but the focus would be more on an intellectual pursuit of Christianity.