Fortunately, in times like these I have my village. For folks who may be unfamiliar, your village is your family - blood or otherwise. They’re the people who nourish your spirit, rejuvenate your soul, and support you through the darkest of hours. They cry with you, laugh with you, and (if you’re lucky) tell you when you need to get your stuff together. Essentially, your village is the group of angels God sent to this earth in human form to watch over you as you do His work.
All biases aside, my village is thee absolute best!
Often in graduate studies we function in a way that removes us from the human experience. Because of the nature of the beast, we’re told to be objective. To be critical. We’re also constantly criticized and told how we can make our work better. While constant critique and pressure may be good for sharpening skills (and I say that with a lot of hesitancy), too much of it can cause us to question the greatness we know lies within and can even cause us to distance ourselves from reality and the problems that lie at the core of our work just to appease our critics.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about why I started this program, whether or not the goals of the program are relevant to the work I want to do in the long term, and if quitting is a viable option at this point (yup...it’s gotten that real). Because of the criticism of (some) professors and classmates, I’ve also thought about whether or not I’m worthy or capable of completing a program like this. While I was ready to throw in the towel, it was the people in my village that reminded me of all of those things and then some. Because they often know me better than I know myself, they were not only able to answer all of those questions, they were able to remind me of specific incidents from my past that enraged me, brought me to tears, or inspired me to apply to the program in the first place. They were able to speak over my life in a way that I couldn’t at that moment. They prayed for me. They told me they were proud of me. And perhaps most importantly, they quickly got me together for thinking about quitting.
Sometimes when we’re in the trenches, it’s hard to see the horizon. Lucky for us, our village can often serve as our lookouts, seeing things that we can’t see and encouraging us to move forward because of their unique vantage point. I will be forever grateful for them for that.
I say all of that to say this:
If you don’t have a village, get yourself one ASAP. Like Speedy Gonzales, Roadrunner, Sonic the Hedgehog, Flash quick.
There is absolutely NO way you will be able to make it through a graduate program (or any challenging moment for that matter) without one. We were not meant to walk this earth alone (hint: that’s why there are billions of people on this earth with us).
And if you do have a village, take some time to let them know how important they are to you. Thank them for their invaluable place in your life and hug them real tight (if you can).
To my village (I can’t name all y’all right now, but you know if you’re in the village…you just know): I love you more than words will ever be able to describe. This blog post is not even close to an adequate show of my love, reverence, and appreciation for your presence in my life. This crazy profession I’ve chosen/have been called to can make me want to do some crazy things, but I thank you for keeping me grounded. Thank you for answering your phones, responding to text messages, and making time in your schedules for me. Know that I feel extremely blessed to call you family and that if nothing else keeps me going, your love does. Love yaaaaaa! *smooches*