What Comes Next?
Jan 05 06:59
I finished grad school on Dec. 14. Commencement’s not until May, but all my coursework is completed – 52 credits for a master’s of arts in religion from Lancaster Theological Seminary locked up tight and in the bank.
I’m keeping my job, no worries there. But I see myself as part of the larger disability community, and am a strong believer in “paying my dues” – in other words, being involved in meaningful projects in addition to what I do at New Mobility.
If you want to know what possessed me to attend seminary, I can’t give you a very good reason. “I felt called to do so” was sufficient for me to spend so much time, energy and money. But I understand how irrational that seems. And that’s cool. It’s like that sometimes – we do things we know we should without completely understanding why at the time.
But now I’m done. And I don’t know what comes next. There are so many things I want to do! Books I want to write …
I want to write a big, thick egg-heady book that does for Christianity what Judith Z. Abrams’ Judaism and Disability does for Judaism. That is, trace why we understand disability the way we do in Christianity back to the roots, and figure out how our understanding has grown over the centuries. A tome that explores the intersections between philosophy, theology and independent living, that figures out once and for all where – if anywhere – God is in our disabilities. A missal that explains what it mean to not be healed (or cured or whatever) and yet believe.
But dang, that seems like a lot of work.
Or, I could firm up, flesh out and publish an old Bible study on chronic illness and disability that I did some years ago. It’s been tested now as far north as Alberta, Canada, and as far south as Raleigh, N.C., so I think it’s pretty good. And probably marketable, too.
Or maybe I want to jump back into the activist world.
Or maybe I want to work on some projects that have nothing to do with disability at all. After 17 years, perhaps I have something to write for everyone, not just us.
Or maybe I just want to do my job and not muck around with anything else. But I’m not the kind of person who can imagine things to write about. I need the grist and grind of real life outside of my warm little office, where cats nap on my desk, and the aquarium air line softly hums and the gentle glow of the computer monitor never blinks, and e-mails and listservs pass themselves off as true community.
Tempting. But no.
Want to know a secret? I don’t know what comes next. And it’s kind of exciting.
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Jan 05 02:24
I like your style! First congrats on grad. school I am finishing undergrad and thinking "I don't ever want to go back" but things change and I would like to be in the position to be a bonafide pro-bono attorney specializing in disability.
Secondly I don't think many people, no matter what age, know what they want to do. The fact that you and I are ok with says something about perspective and I know that I am happy. Yes, you are right it is very exciting!
Jan 05 03:42
Josie, congratulations on completeing grad school. Are we, as individuals, defined by our disability? I say yes and then no. Yes, because our disability sets us apart, we are different. No, because I am the same person that I was pre-SCI, basicly. Disability has sharpened some of my senses. I have experienced bias and discrimination for the first time and know that ugliness. I am a happy person with a great home and social lives. But there are times when something disibility-related happens to produce a true and proper rant from me that falls on deaf, uncaring ears.
I enjoy your writings, and look foraward to them. Best wishes, Charles