By the end of the day I have a project due. In January I took a class called “The Bible and the Ecology of Wonder”. The final project was to be a reflection on that subject, we were encouraged to be creative. I could have written a sermon, which I did and preached for the congregation when I returned on Psalm 139. I could have written about a photograph that I’ve taken, I had free reign, a creative final project. I decided (because life isn’t hard enough) that I would write a Lenten Devotional on Wonder in the Wilderness. I combined the theme of the class (Wonder) with our church’s theme for Lent (Thirst in the Wilderness). “I’ve never written a devotional before, not a full one, this will be fun,” I thought. (I know, I need to get out more if that is my definition of fun). I asked for an extension knowing my life was crazy and I would need more time. The deadline I gave myself was today, Friday the 13th. I needed to have it done by today because Sunday is the last Sunday before Lent and I need to get it into my people’s hands. I will also post it on this blog… As the week progressed I started to stress, but not for the reason you think. I started to stress because I wasn’t stressed about it. My lack of stress was causing stress and I started to wonder (see what I did there…) about why. The answer was simple in the most complicated way possible. “Don’t sweat the small things.” I used to loathe that saying. Still do, really. I worry, I have anxiety, I’m a problem solver, I like solutions. I get to solutions through my worry, anxiety, and thinking through scenarios. I have learned not to fight this. Fighting it makes the monkey mind worse. But as this year has progressed, as a reality of what I thought was a “happy” marriage has fallen apart, as I have taken on the reality of divorce, shared custody, financial strain, in addition to the everyday stress of being a pastor and mom, I have learned that I simply cannot sweat the small things. Getting a doctorate is not a small thing. Really it’s not. But in comparison to the health and emotional wellbeing of my children? Small thing. Worse case is I ask for another extension, other worse case is that I fail the class. Not the end of the world. If I do my children will still have food on the table and a roof over their heads. I will not lose my job. But I still need to finish it (so finish this blog dumbass and get to work!) Why? Because it’s a dream of mine. Mine. No one else. I am doing this for me. Education is selfish, in my humble opinion. I didn’t know that until I was out of school with a master’s degree wondering why I felt as if I wasn’t doing anything for myself. Education, learning, reading, furthering your mind and skill is selfish. Until you use it, until you share it. Like art, sharing is what is important. I could have all knowledge, I could be the smartest person, I could know the ins and outs and why things work and how, but until it is shared, it’s just mine. I learn it for me. I think for me. Until education or thoughts are applied, they are completely selfish. This is my theory at least. But I digress. The point is I believe in sharing, I believe in bettering the world and myself. I also believe that there are real stresses in my life, that getting this project done is a priority for me, and that makes it worth while, and in all honesty, I am celebrating the fact that it is almost noon and I am still writing content. This is self love. This is progress. This is a small thing, and I am grateful.