The path to The Seattle School is a time of transitions and changes that can feel abrupt and jarring. As we look back on who we were years ago, or maybe months ago, it can be difficult—even impossible—to reconcile those versions of ourselves with who we are now becoming. Here, J Rourke, a first-year student in the MA in Theology & Culture program, shares a poem and reflection about the art of transitioning and engaging with our multiplicity of selves.
Some day, my whole life will be different from This.
I will not drive this car, and then who will I be?
I will wear new clothing,
and own different instruments.
My phrases will be fresher,
I’ll have read different books,
my body will be worn and shaped differently;
who will I be then?
What of me will not change?
Is any of me eternal?
If it is, I would rather live in that
than in this car,
if I am to grow
these things of mine
will do for Now.
Two years ago I used to have so many keys they wouldn’t fit comfortably in my pocket. Keys for the front door, side door, for the garage, for work, for vehicles.
Only one of my keys is the same as it was two years ago. Or even six years ago. Just good ‘ol bike lock, resting in my back pocket, a dancing chime on the oversized carabiner I wear on my belt loop.
In late August, I handed in the three keys to the house I’d lived in, in Eugene, Oregon. I miss that porch and those trees dearly. And the stars.
Three months ago I left a key covered in University of Oregon logos on top of a refrigerator at Vero Espresso, held a sigh until the front door, let out “finally,” and drove home.
That same day, in the afternoon, I traded my car key for a different one. I can’t describe logically why I knew that car didn’t belong to me anymore, but I knew it, and I acted on it, and now my life is different.
In the four years since I graduated college I’ve moved nine times, worked five different jobs, driven three cars, lived in two countries, and worn through all but one pair of jeans. My body has been through a lot of geography, and changed with what those places offer. My heart has borne a lot of newness and new oldness. My mind has grown and let things go.
And still, with all this movement, there is a me that is settled, that I can rest into, that dwells with the Divine in a place my body, my heart is responding to. I have a hard time with that Me. I feel like a spirit and a body and whatever’s in my backpack; I feel like a moment in conversation that starts others laughing and leaves a smirk on my face. I am a joke; I’m a song; I’m a haircut.
And yet, I am still the me that sits on a couch in Capitol Hill. I am the me that just moved to Seattle for graduate school. I am the me that has never gone anywhere, that is always beyond and above and with Goodness. I am the me at rest, who always has a place.
I’m finding I can exist in a place where there are no doors and still take residence in an apartment that gives me another temporary key. One to keep bike lock company. And just as it is true that I was, and I will be; for now, I am this me, with these keys. And somewhere I am all of these, the keys and the keyring and the door itself, and with that in mind, these keys can be me for a time, and I can love them.