We’re really excited to share this week’s Throwback Thursday entry from MACP student Rebekah Deitrich. Rebekah shares about her journey to The Seattle School, the difficulty of living into desire, and what to do when it seems like everything is going wrong. We hope Rebekah’s words are a reminder that our whole community is thinking of you and praying for you in this season.
I recently rewatched The Fellowship of The Ring, but this time heard something profound and new. Frodo and Boromir are alone in the woods, and it’s become clear Boromir is fraught with the agony of desire for the ring of power that Frodo wears sacrificially around his neck. He gradually approaches Frodo with such seeming care and kindness, and in an effort to seduce the ring away, implores, “There are other ways Frodo, other paths that we might take.” But Frodo is guarded and fiercely loyal to his calling. What he says in response is stunning:
“I know what you would say, and it would sound like wisdom, but for the warning in my heart.”
Never in a million years did I imagine pursuing a graduate degree. Who purposely chooses to do all that reading and writing? When the flame of desire was ignited in the midst of deep pain and sorrow, I found an arsenal of disclaimers and excuses, many of which sounded logical, or as Frodo might say,“wise:”
I’m over 40.
I have kids.
I have no time.
We would have to move; it’s not fair to uproot the the family again.
My memory is shot.
Could I even write a recipe at this point, let alone a theological anthropology? I haven’t written a paper in 20 years!
Do I actually have anything to offer?
What do I know?
How can I be a counselor when I often mistreat those closest to me?
With the help of those who love and know me, I chose to listen to that warning, to pay heed to the desire underneath and launch out against all logic, but with great hope. Slowly and sometimes painfully, the millions of combinations and permutations involved in moving a family and significantly altering our entire lifestyle fell into place, and we arrived to our home on Bainbridge Island with a month to spare.
Perhaps it is possible to believe in yourself a little too much. Even though I hadn’t ridden a bike with any regularity since childhood, I decided to commute to school by bicycle…onto a ferry…and into Seattle. Despite my newfound sense of adventure, it was a complete disaster. Whatever could go wrong, did.
On my very first day, I crashed into another cyclist on the exit ramp, and down we went, in full view of the cars waiting to unload. I didn’t know where to go, so I ran off to the side of the ramp, pulling my cream colored black polka dot beach cruiser with me (the bike alone should have been a sign), and asked an employee how to proceed. Without even looking at me, he simply shrugged his shoulders as the cars began to race by. It sounds silly, but boy, did that sting! I felt dumb and so alone.
A few weeks later, I crashed again trying to downshift, popping my chain off and spinning myself to nowhere, again on the exit ramp. I fell over and my bike smashed to the ground, causing my water bottle to pop out of its cage and roll back down into the ferry, all in front of many other cyclists and cars. Talk about humiliation! I felt like such a fraud, undeserving of riding with all of the “pro commuters.” I wanted to give up, and had many good reasons, the safety of others not the least of them! I told myself there were other ways, but something deeper and truer said, “No, get back up. You want to do this, and you can.”
I could write pages about all the things that went wrong, and I can’t explain what kept me going, other than the “warning in my heart” about who I really am. As I look back now, the commuting chaos is such a perfect metaphor for beginning school, for entering into an incredible, maddening, life-giving, dangerous, wounding, healing, and exhilarating adventure. Along with almost killing people, I have also seen views to die for, whales, sunsets and sunrises that bring me to tears before my Creator. I think biking was a way to wrestle with both the deep fears and desires I had as school began; a way to wrestle with the question, “Am I enough, and can I actually live with how much I want this?”
I think of all of you so often and wonder what you must be feeling. You have a place here, and you are not alone. At the very least, please find me and say hello, and I will remind you that someone else knows what it is to do this! If you like hugs, I will give you one, or laugh or cry with you too. If you feel insecure, or don’t know who to sit with in class, and suddenly you wonder if you are back in junior high, boldly plunk yourself down next to someone new and know that your presence is a gift to them too. Most importantly, don’t hide away and try to do this alone; you have so much to offer because you have YOU to offer.
I am glad and thankful that you are on your way, and for your courage to enter into such a crazy adventure, an adventure that will require the places in you that you do not know are even there; an adventure that will lavish you with blessing and life. Welcome!
Rebekah Deitrich is an MACP student at The Seattle School. She loves to sing, dance, and ride her bike like a boss.