A few years back, around the time I left my last job, I thought for a long while about going back to school. I'd like very much to attend seminary and study biblical languages and culture, to dig more deeply into the Word and understand better what it says, and then to write about it.
I didn't do it. I didn't know how the money would work, and I wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do, and at the time I wasn't sure if I'd find another office-type job, the sort where you show up every day at the time they tell you and leave at the time they say you can, which doesn't leave a ton of time for doing extra things like reading lots of hard books and studying and writing papers and such.
That wasn't really it, though. It wasn't the reason I didn't find a school, or the reason I didn't try very hard to look for the money to do it.
I was waiting for permission. I wanted someone else to say "yes, this is a very good idea for you, and here are several watertight reasons why so you can justify it to anyone who asks."
I knew, even then, that the kind of permission I was looking for didn't exist. There was nobody else who could tell me to do it or not do it. But I couldn't pursue it on my own. I couldn't decide for myself that I wanted to pursue grad-level work, and accept that was reason enough.
I've been thinking a lot about school again. For about a week, I've been rolling it around in my head over and over, journaling and praying about it, trying to work up courage to mention it to anyone and see if I got any encouragement. I've already been fending off naysayers in my head, anticipating challenges from ghost people, when I haven't said a peep to anyone about what I'd like to do or why.
I'm still looking for permission. I know I am. I am 37 years old (yes, I'm sure this time), and I'm looking for a grown-up person, not the fake kind of grown-up that I feel like I am, but a real grown-up to tell me I'm allowed to find a school and get to work on something that I'd be excited to do.
Nobody in the world will give me permission to do this. I will do it or I will not do it. That's all. There isn't anything else.