Just a little while ago I left a Hebrew study group feeling a bit....frustrated. I will leave it to the readers discretion to know whether "frustrated" is the right word to describe feeling so overwhelmed that I was moved to tears and wondering if this class will be the one that ends my seminary education and candidacy process.
Language has never been my thing. In undergraduate, it took four attempts and a very generous extra credit project to fulfill my language requirement. The exhaustion and sense of overwhelming I have about language followed me to Greek last year. I remember thinking my second semester that I felt so much at home and joyful about my education. In hindsight, I realize now that the joy probably came from being out of my first semester when I was pounding Greek flashcards every night.
So this evening, feeling "frustrated", I came home and do something I always do when I'm upset - I cleaned. I did my dishes, changed my cat's litter for the second time today, emptied my fridge and scrubbed my bathroom sink. There is something about the work of cleaning that gives me space to think, and quite frankly, calm down.
As I was scrubbing away, I gained a little perspective. Yes, today was another challenging day in the world of vocab learning. But that's not all today was. Today I read a lovely blog written by my dear friend. Today I was the assisting minister in chapel where my biggest mistake was dropping a microphone (I count that as success!). Today I had lunch with three friends and had spare time to squeeze in a nap. By all accounts, it was a really good day.
Most importantly, when I was feeling overwhelmed in my study group, thinking that Hebrew was my ultimate nemesis, I had three friends there reaffirming me. Supporting me. Not thinking it was at all bizarre that I was feeling pressure. Upholding me in Christian love when that pressure seemed like too much to bear and brought me to tears.
It can be easy to lose perspective when you are trying so hard to learn something and it isn't going as well as you'd like. It is in those moments not to lose sight of the forest for the tree, and even when you do, know that the people who love you will support you in the process.