I shall, Dei volonte, graduate in late May. Six months afterwards, I must either be employed or in school. Now for some time I have longed to enroll in graduate school and work towards a Ph.D in Philosophy or Classics. I should very much like to be able to read Greek and Latin fluently, and I love ancient philosophy more than I can say. Plato and Aristotle, not to mention the Greeks in their entirety, seem more honest, more wonderful, and more true than anything modern I have yet read. There is a sense of dramatic, almost childlike wonder about them and a passionate love for the truth I have found nowhere else save perhaps the medievals. So either I should like to attend a school where they take Greece seriously and I can write a dissertation on Plato's understanding of Being, or else find a reputable Classics department and study there in the spirit of Seth Benardete. That is my greatest short-term goal.
But whence from there? Ultimately I think I shall become a priest. Obviously that is an immense decision, but it is the direction I have been leaning for almost five years now. That means seminary, talking with priests, etc.
The first option was to try and do that immediately after graduation. That meant applying to graduate school in the fall. But I also knew I wanted to take a year off, which complicates things; it means finding a job to pay off a year's worth of student loans, which means job hunting before the loans kick in. I have a little money saved - maybe enough to fend off a year of payment, though I would be flat broke come next fall. The JET program seemed like a perfect solution, for it pays well, offers overseas living, and was something I very much wanted to do. I applied and did not make the interview. So here I am starting over. I realize I had counted on getting into JET more than I thought, and the rejection was not a little disappointing. So in the short term here is what I need to do:
- Find a job as soon as possible. I had hoped to find something fulfilling, but I need to stand on my own two feet, and if flipping burgers is necessary for that, I shall act precisely thus.
- Study for and take the GRE. Destroy it. Judging from people I know who have taken it, this should be only a minor challenge.
- Apply to grad school and seminary simultaneously, deferring the latter if accepted at the former.
- Work out the developing logistical details.
This is a considerable amount of work to be done. I know how to make abstract plans well, but I did that before graduating high school and look how that turned out. I cannot at present imagine anything better than a Braniff education/St. Paul Seminary tag team, but I would have said the same five years ago about the Army. Further, I wish to please my holy God in making these plans, and I want to work his will in my life. Coming rapidly to a point where I must quickly make major decisions which will have great impact on my life, I am not sure how to go about this. Do I halt all activity on my part and wait for God to grant me the answer by dispensation? Do I resolutely proceed with the best possible decision I can make at the moment? Do I fast, pray, and seek God and make inquiries about jobs and schools simultaneously? If this is the answer, how will I know what his will is for me, and that it is not just my own desires, again in the case of the Army? St. Matthew seems to provide a sort of answer, but again interpretation becomes a problem. There must be some sort of self-negation, coupled with the faith that God shall direct the result into something greater than what I by my own efforts could produce. Needless to say, that is the hardest thing I have yet faced.
So there I am: lost, frightened, and confused in the infinite sea of will, seeking desperately direction, purpose, and final cause, the antidotes to despair.