Since that day (June 5, 2014) I have told many people that my heart breaks more easily than it once did. It’s not that I didn’t recognize the brokenness of the world prior to that event, but it cut deeper that day than previous events had. This spring, on the one-year anniversary of the shooting at SPU, I wrestled with how to manage my own lament and remembrance amidst people who have no idea that a school shooting is part of my story. Part of that wrestling within me involved how to acknowledge the hurt I still feel while not being so consumed by it that I am unable to enjoy life as a 23-year-old graduate student who is extremely blessed and has many things to celebrate!
On that Friday I read multiple posts on social media from family and friends who were also reflecting on the shooting at SPU last spring. Many referred to Ecclesiastes 3: “[there is] a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…” and reminded me that any moment in time can indeed be both. However, balancing both in one day can be exhausting and confusing. As I have grown, the sorrows of the world have become more challenging to weigh. Acknowledging the hurt of the world feels awkward on days when there are also things to celebrate. In addition, it often leaves me feeling as though my personal challenges are insignificant or unimportant.I currently spend six to seven days a week on a three-building graduate school campus surrounded by other students. Our lives and most of our conversations revolve around our pursuit of physical and occupational therapy as our future careers. (Have you ever heard of the superior pancreaticoduodenal artery? Do you know someone who has had a Colle’s fracture?) Due, in part, to the fact that I spend 30 hours a week in class (not to mention studying outside of that to pass exams), I have been feeling a little sequestered, as if my current reality has very little to do with the rest of the world. Thus, I have found myself wrestling with how my role as a physical therapist fits into God’s plan. I know where it fits as an educator and healer of the patients I will interact with. I also have no doubt that God put me here, and I absolutely love what I am doing. But in this season I have been feeling somewhat useless on a larger scale.
It seems that in order to be successful as a student right now I need to allow myself to not be as involved in “world events” as I would like. I have to release my feelings of guilt for not being involved in every political and religious discussion going on. For me, this season of graduate school means there is “a time to study and little time to do much else.” There will always be a balance to find, and graduate school is not an excuse to disengage. But for me, it has become a space for learning to allow myself grace and a season in which I remind myself constantly that celebration and mourning are not mutually exclusive.
Kindra Fish has been a member of the Newberg Friends community her whole life. In June 2014 she graduated from Seattle Pacific University. She is currently attending school at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in San Diego, CA, pursuing her degree in physical therapy. With the little free time she has, Kindra loves to hike, read books, and swim in the ocean (oceans are warm down in southern California).