Shout out to you, Lauren Morton-Farmer! Lauren has a wonderful blog on which she writes, among many good things, a weekly gratitude post. I hope you don't mind, Lauren, but I am stealing the idea and want to do the same. I think it's the best answer to any kind of stress or sadness; it's probably the virtue that is farthest from my grasp right now.
Right now I am grateful for my friends at Yale. I admit, there have been some lonely times here this semester Especially lately - the sun goes down so early these days, and I find myself in my apartment alone nearly all the time it seems. Today was a little anxiety-ridden as I calculated how many hours remain until all my papers are due and my finals must be taken (note to grad students: don't do this).
Tonight was the Advent Party at the Divinity School. There was a big Advent service in the chapel and then a party to follow. Marquand chapel looked beautiful all decked out in Christmas lights and purple Advent candles. There were no seats left when I got there, so I headed up to the balcony. It was so pleasant to look out over the beautiful room and watch the service from above.
A few minutes into the service, however, I started panicking that I wasn't working. After a few minutes of struggle, I left the balcony and headed downstairs with Deconstructing Radical Orthodoxy to try to sort out this Aquinas-Derrida issue a little bit better. It felt better to be working, but still not great.
The party began after the service concluded, and when I heard people milling around I went upstairs to check it out. I had a friend offer to let me lock up my computer in his locker, people offered to get me drinks, and I wasn't able to turn around without hearing a really encouraging pep-talk. There was my advisor, some new friends I'm taking classes with next semester, and the core group of people I've grown to love this term. I was soon coaxed into hitting the dance floor, and before I knew it I just felt great. So for my Yale friends: no, they haven't known me for my whole life, but I'm starting to feel like I am cared about here, and that I care about other people too.