This month our students are enjoying some time away from classes between the Spring and Summer terms—time to rest and reflect on the things they have learned and the ways they’ve grown in their graduate studies at The Seattle School. Here, Heather Casimere, second-year MA in Theology & Culture student, looks back on her journey to Seattle and the work of deconstruction that comes before growing new foundations.
During this hectic season of what I would hands down call the busiest, most challenging semester of grad school thus far—and my second to last—I have been reading Found by Micha Boyett. Her reflections on grace and prayer allow spaces of sweet reflection and pause throughout this hectic season. I’m getting nostalgic, here in these last days of graduate school. Though life has taught me that nothing is constant but change, I am one prone to sentimentality. Now is a good time for it.
Of her own experience through transition, Boyett writes, “And here I sit in San Francisco, a city I barely considered three years ago, taking communion with a roomful of people I never imagined I’d one day share my life with.” That is how I feel about Seattle. I never intended to bring myself to this place. Seattle sounded like a nice place I’d someday like to visit, but it wouldn’t have made my bucket list. The thing about God is that he has other plans. He is not afraid to surprise, and I’m starting to believe God delights when we say yes to those surprises. So that’s all I really did. Said yes to moving to Seattle when God said, “Due North.” Then I said a hundred tiny and massive and medium yeses in between. No big thing; and yet it is.
“God is not afraid to surprise, and I’m starting to believe God delights when we say yes to those surprises.”
Had I known what I was getting into, what I was signing up for, I may not have come—these two tiny years, on top of the several years that came before Seattle, have completely transformed me. They have taken me through fire, and water, and ice. And through that process I have come out differently than I thought I would. Yet it feels just right.
The building which stood just across Elliott Avenue from The Seattle School was demolished recently (video here). Its walls, beams, and foundation were completely torn down over the past several weeks. It was home to some whose names we will never know. Its parking lot provided dependable parking for moms who are simultaneously raising kids and working their way through graduate school. It was the view out of one of our professor’s windows. And then it was gone.
After six months of near constant rain, on one recent day, the skies shone clear. I plod-plod-plodded down Wall Street, peering over the buildings to Elliott Bay and the mountains. Distracted by the view, I was walking past the aforementioned building on the way to school—only it wasn’t there anymore. Its walls had been torn down. Its foundations had crumbled. The parking lot was no more. Instead, someone had taken the time to smooth down the gravel into an extraordinary, simple design. I laughed out loud! I laughed, because this is what God does. He tears down our foundations until we think we will be no more—and we are no more—but then there is space and room for the beautiful design that can now be built.
Boyett writes, “The wave rolls through my body, and I stand with my hands on the bed, breathing long and deep while the force grows wide in me. It’s almost like God: wild and dangerous and making everything new.” Her words make my heart beat just a little bit faster in the way that lets me know they are true. There is now space for new foundations, new rooms, new life. Boyett’s words about God seem just right: wild and dangerous and making everything new.