Approximately 27 seconds after awakening this morning, I realized that this was a very important day: my last first day of school EVER. I proceeded to smile broadly, pump my fists in the air, and whisper an excited chant: "school! school! school!" Yes, I am an incredibly nerdy third-grader at heart. I love school. I love classes and books and new pens, listening to lectures and asking questions. I like that my life's explicitly stated goal right now is to think deeply and seriously about the big questions of life and death and god and suffering.
And, after a long, empty summer, those questions resurfaced quickly and piercingly.
At 8 a.m., a short, fat, former monk asked me, what does it mean for a text to be religious?
Then, at 10, a west African's lilting english echoed my thoughts: how is pastoral care any different from the care we give each other every day?
A bouncy Nazarene with piercing blue eyes kept me awake after lunch by insisting that Qohelet's questions of futility and vanity, sorrow and despair are not dismissable.
And for three hours, a brusque Jewish woman with dangling earrings kept me engaged in the far-from-stale story of Genesis, asking once more the queries of the rabbis and their midrash: what is this relationship that God keeps attempting to instigate and sustain with us humans?
Answers are fleeting, but "the right questions can keep us company our whole lives long."