Paulist seminarian Tom Gibbons reflects on his formation experience and his life as a seminarian right now. Along the way, some questions will be will be answered, and a lot more will come up.
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This continues a series of entries that describes the time when I first entered seminary in the Fall of 2006.
I know that this is going to sound dumb to some, but one of the things I had an issue with when I went to seminary is that I would be going back to a twin bed. I’m 34 years old and downgrading to a twin bed – it might be YEARS before I ever sleep in at least a full size mattress again, to live again like that group of people commonly referred to as “grown-ups.”
There may be some people out there thinking, “Why would YOU need a double bed? (heh heh heh)” Well, I know people who have no hope of scoring in this decade and yet have at least a full size bed, so shut up.
After I finished my years of volunteering out west a few years ago, I was sleeping in the same bed I grew up in: a twin. Because that’s the time I had started wrestling with feelings about religious life, I felt my life was in a kind of limbo and I was reluctant to make any big purchases I would have to dump in a year or two anyway. Eventually, during one of the frequent times when I thought—thought—that I was winning the debate against God as to whether or not priesthood was in the cards, I decided to buy a full-size mattress; it was a lower-end model (just in case) but full size nonetheless. Of course the salesclerk at the store after learning how much I was looking to spend said, with a raised eyebrow and a smirk on her face, that it was a good bed to buy if I was just going into college. I still fantasize about meeting her sometime in the future when she is gravely ill and denying her last rites.
After our visit to the New York house, we head back to the retreat center in Oak Ridge, New Jersey where we are staying. And although I am stuck with a twin-sized bed in my room in DC, when I arrived at the retreat house I found that my room has a queen-sized bed. A queen! Okay, I know that was a long way to go just to describe sleeping arrangements, but I’m just saying that with all of the surprises in the past few months, it’s nice to have one of them land in the category of “comfort.”