In one of my lectures last week, a guest researcher spoke on how symptoms are often answers to the questions a person is not consciously asking. This is all well and good as a theory, until it manifests itself personally in the most annoying of ways. You see, I used to be a student of a rather compulsive sort… pouring excess amounts of effort into an undergrad education that by the very definition of being a small, Christian liberal arts college, probably did not require all that much effort. Whatever excess energy didn’t go into my school work was well spent at the gym, or running, or running to the gym…. you get the idea.

And now? Now I’m in a PhD program and I can’t seem to get myself to contribute more than the bare minimum to the actual school work. Case in point? I have my first big paper due at the end of the week, and here I am blogging instead of composing a thesis about the role of the Reign of God in therapy. And as for the gym? I have managed to drag myself there only a handful of times since school began, and mostly I am content with a quick jog around the block instead, my little dog in tow.

I thought these two turns of events were coincidences, or perhaps strange secondary symptoms of seminary life. But no, according to our guest psychologist speaker, this loss of my favorite addictions and compulsions is simply the thanks I get for actually, finally, processing my shit, after years of avoiding doing just that.

The thing is, they were really great, as far as vices go. Sure, I might have been closeted and all conflicted somewhere deep inside, but at least I was a reasonably fit straight A student on the outside. That had to count for something, right? And now? Now I’m stuck on the couch, asking all the questions that were a lot easier to handle when they were unasked.

This strikes me, initially, as a pretty crappy deal. I mean, what good does it to me to come to an enlightened understanding of my personal identity at the cost of becoming an out-of-shape, overweight grad school drop out? So I’d like to send a shout out to my misplaced vices… return to me, and I’ll return to leaving all the really hard questions unasked. It’ll be great, I promise…