The beginning of this semester has been full of wonderful conversations with my classmates around keeping healthy while we are all in seminary. There have been many truisms that sound like platitudes: this is the time to learn how to take care of yourself before you have a parish to take care of; how can you model health if you do not have it yourself; and my personal favorite - this is not the time to get sick (!). Many of my classmates and I heard these throughout our first year together, and then again as the newest class began to join us, and we wondered what this meant for us and how to live it out faithfully and honestly.
I will admit that last year was all about the academics. And this year looks like it will be more of the same, with a healthy dash of hands-on field experience. But nowhere was there really room to make my health a priority. I am focused on preparing for the ministry God is calling me into, but ironically the physical readiness part of that has been left completely out of the picture.
This semester is going to be a difficult one. I have four classes that are challenging me in ways I never dreamed I would be stretched. I have, essentially, a part time job as a seminarian in my field education parish. But my "fifth class" - the one I would have audited - is one that I have to take as seriously as the others. Personal health and wellness. How do I not let me spiritual life get trampled in the crush of school and parish work? What about physical health - eating well and moving my body? How do I nourish myself so that I am giving generously out of an abundance of energy and love and not giving grudgingly out of a well run so dry that I can no longer function?
Perhaps it is this lesson in caring for myself in every way that is the foundation for all of what my classes will be teaching me. It is certainly an important lesson to learn.