I would first like to apologize to all my supports for not keeping up with my blog the last four months. I found myself sitting down several times over the course of that time to write but nothing came. I resigned myself to the fact that I was simply done with writing for my studies over the course of the year were tremendously difficult. I had no words to write although the thoughts continued. I entered into a time of processing the things that I had read and learned over the course of my middler year. I spent the summer in Wisconsin at Nashotah House working with the maintenance crew, facilitating daily worship in the chapel, and working at a local Mexican restaurant. I was able to do a little bit of traveling to see my best friend, Charity Hubbard, who is also my girlfriend (more about that to come).
One of my tasks on the maintenance crew was to scrap paint of a building and then sand the rough parts in order that I could then paint over it later. It was incredibly relaxing to scrap bits of paint 10 feet up on a ladder. I’m not being facetious. The mundane task required no mental effort, other than keeping balance, and allowed me to simply be in the presence of the previous year. I listened to some books on Audible. Daniel Kahneman and Malcolm Gladwell facilitated brain activity by forcing me to think about something else other than my studies. By being distracted I was able to then revisit what I had learned with a different perspective on what I was doing. I don’t think that it was necessarily the content of what they were talking about that made me revisit my studies with a different perspective but simply the act of thinking about different topics. Although I will say that Kahnemen’s study in Decision Theory is really fascinating and has seeped into that which I am pursing as a priest.
One thing that I thought about over the course of the summer was the imperfection, yet completely satisfying nature, of what actually happens in life. I had in my mind that seminary would be really good and devoid of trial or hardship. Specifically, over the course of the year I anticipated getting good grades while participating in the community with no emotional expense. What happened was that I got ok grades and participated in the community with almost all of my emotional, intellectual, and physical energy being depleted. Despite the depletion I felt really satisfied because I learned a lot about human nature and myself. Moreover, I learned about the world that God entered into as Jesus Christ to help us who come to the end of ourselves to find life and peace through death and chaos.
The reality of the incarnation of Jesus Christ is that he shows us how to be truly God and Man. He shows us how to come to the end of our physical life by expressing inability to go on and submitting to the fact that we have no control over the alignment of the moon and sun in our lives. In submitting, we find something we never anticipated. We find satisfaction in seemingly imperfect things in our life because we know that they point to the perfect reality of the being and essence of God, that is, that we see hope even in a broken world. We can scrap paint off a building and know that things break down and fall apart, requiring maintenance. In scraping, sanding, and painting we know that we have purpose in taking care of a breaking and falling apart world. We have a moral duty and obligation to take care of all things, not because of who or what they are but because of whom they were created by and in. The bottom line is not race or gender but humanity. Not that race and gender are negated but rather accentuated by helping each other see how to serve one another. Gender and race are a provision for us to help each other to die to one another much like in the manner that Jesus died for us. But, I digress.
As noted above, I visited my best friend a few times. I met Charity through a mutual friend who is my other best friend from grade school. He and his wife told me about her in February, we ended up writing each other via snail mail which then culminated in a visit to where she lives in Seneca, SC. We started dating shortly thereafter and have loved getting to know each other over the course of the last five to six months. She loves running, backpacking, and doing anything active outside. She is getting a Master’s in Recreational Therapy at Clemson University, loves helping people, and simply makes me a better person.
We spent two and a half weeks together at the beginning of this month. We vacationed with my family, flew to Dallas, Texas, for a wedding, and then vacationed with her family. We had a lot of fun laughing and getting to know each other’s families. We ran a lot, laughed a lot, and even miss-communicated. All in all we had a splendid time together and are counting down the days till we can be together again.
I am starting my final year of seminary. I am looking forward to this year. I was glad to find out that senior year is historically not as difficult as middler year, so I’m happy about that! I am in need of some financial support going into the next year. Although the majority of my tuition is projected to be paid for, I will be in need for living expenses. Over the last year and a half I have been working at the Mexican restaurant on the weekends to pay for various bills and needs. The owners are moving to a different location and so I am not able to move with them or find another place to work with as flexible hours as they offered. Although I do have a few jobs on campus, my funds are dwindling. Please prayerfully consider sending both prayer and financial support as I finish my senior year and move into a new stage of life following graduation.
If you are able to help financially you can send money in the following ways.
Give straight to the school: https://www.nashotah.edu/support/fabien-pering
Send a check with “Seminarian Fund” in the memo line to my sending parish at Church of the Apostles 1520 Bull Street, Columbia, SC 29201
Give online at the church website making the same indication of giving to the “Seminarian Fund”: http://www.apostlescolumbia.org/giving/