As of tonight, I have officially had one week of classes, and so far, so good. One of our professors told us that we would have to work hard to fail the class, so I figure that's the sign of a good semester right there. :-)
School and school people have gotten me thinking a lot about the friendships I have in other realms of my life. Though I have met some wonderful people in my program, overall I have been rather disappointed with the lack of connection I have felt with my fellow students. Being nervous about moving here from across the country, I consoled myself with the knowledge that I had many friends in Boston already, and also that I'd be meeting lots of new people in my program.
Though it is indeed still true that I have many friends in Boston, the fact of the matter is that our schedules don't often match up in a way that allows us to see each other. I didn't mind it so much last semester, because I enjoyed throwing myself into school and babysitting and settling into my new life here on the East Coast, but now that I'm gearing up for another semester (and after spending a lot of quality time with friends from all over during my break), I'm realizing that I won't get through my next year and a half of school without the strong social support that has gotten me through so many other times in life.
I've been thinking about this a lot since returning from my trip to SF - how lucky I was there to have such a strong group of friends who got along like siblings (hugs and fights and everything in between) and saw each other fairly regularly. Now that I am in a situation where Survivor nights and impromptu gatherings at Zeitgeist or Cancun aren't the norm, I see what an incredible gift we all gave each other just by hanging out as often as we did. And I miss that.
And that makes me so grateful for my friends outside of Boston, and equally grateful for the friends I have here who have opened their homes and hearts and lives to me and invited me to dinner, and to playdates with kiddos, and to crash on their couches, and who have checked in with me just to make sure I'm alive when I go silent on a paper-writing binge.
Last night, I was wandering through the internet, and came across the website of Robert Fulghum, one of my favorite writers of all time. And in reading through his online journal, I came across the story of a blessing. I'll let you read the full story, but I copy and paste the blessing below, as a message of gratitude to all of you with whom I've shared a meal at any point in our lives together. I am blessed to know you all.
This blessing does not require that you close your eyes or bow your heads.
I ask that you keep your eyes open, your head up.
The finest blessing a meal can have is great companionship.
Look around this room. Take notice of those who sit with you.
Look around you. Look at these men and women.
Consider who they are, what they have done, and what they stand for.
Consider that you are not alone on your Way in the world.
Consider that you have the honor to break bread with such as these.
And know that this meal and each of us is abundantly blessed.