In many ways this first year of doctoral studies has felt discontinuous with my previous experience of formal education. In some sense this has been a welcome liberation, but there's also a certain interior vertigo.
In a very real way, I owe some of the occasional and marginal success I have had in school thus far in my life to my drive to follow directions well and always have my work ready on time. As one of my confreres puts it, my fundamental desire in life is to be "all set."
Thus, it feels very weird to meet with a professor this morning and have him insist that the best thing for my work would be to take an incomplete for his course at the end of the semester and only then begin to work on a term paper. It will be only then, he explained, that I would know how to research and write in this area. He's quite right, of course, but the whole idea of doing things that way feels so funny. It goes against something basic in my nature.
There are many necessary and salutary asceticisms into which God is inviting me through this obedience, and I pray for the willingness to accept their grace.