Editor: readers, I’m sure you’ll appreciate a return to the Brazos Fellows blog by alum (’18-’19) Jess Schurz. Jess now researches education policy in the DC area.
“Why am I so restless?”
Though I didn’t have the language for it at the time, this question was the refrain of my college years. It was most incessant in life’s day to day, with my increasingly sporadic, staccato attention span; coming to the end of a conversation or task without reaching for a quick distraction seemed a colossal feat, and one that grew only more elusive.
Over time, the “restless question” broadened out quite a bit, becoming more gnawing, looming, existential. It probed questions outside of the day to day of life, more into the year to year. In the frantic attempt to forge my own life, I flailed around. In the words of Richard Wilbur’s Seed Leaves, I felt “vaguely vast.” I wanted to “Increase, and yet escape / The doom of taking shape.” That restless question, which reached its full torrent my senior year, ultimately led me to join a new program called Brazos Fellows. This nine-month fellowship, tucked away in unassuming, charming Waco, challenged this restlessness in ways I didn’t quite expect.
As I met people involved with Brazos Fellows before I began, their habits of life struck me as, frankly, rather odd. They committed to strange things like keeping the Sabbath (did people still do that?), weekly meals with friends (but what if something better came up?), and daily prayer (aren’t the days too full for that?).
Yet, they had an internal rest — a disposition of “settled-ness” that was undeniable. They were a steady, clear lighthouse while I was a flickering fluorescent light.
In pursuit of this rest, I joined Brazos Fellows. “I’ll take this rest ready-made and packaged to go please,” I all but demanded. These nine months in Waco, I thought, were a time to learn the tricks of the trade, and then be on my merry way. I was, after all, about to enter into the exciting, daunting post-college years. As such, I needed to get this “rest” thing squared away. The year with Brazos was to be my stamp in the passport — a one and done process before heading out the doors. When the program began, however, we received no such one-size-fits-all quick fix. Instead, they gave us a Rule of Life.
Continue reading “Taking Aim at All the Sky”