In the last scene of Finding Nemo, Gill and the rest of the tank crew finally manage to escape the confines of the dentist office fish tank and make it to the “Big Blue,” the ocean, as one of the fishes from the tank dreamingly described it. Once every character makes it to the ocean, the camera zooms out to get the whole crew in the frame. The fish celebrate for a moment, but when the celebration subsides, silence enters. Bloat breaks the silence with the perceptive question, “Now what?,” and the silence settles in again! What is very comical can be seen as something of a tragedy: The fish manage to escape the office, but never planned further than that. Will they find a way to break out of the bags of water they were kept in to survive the trip from the office to the ocean—their freedom?
The danger for many students is to reach the end of the quarter, passing the class, but without reflecting on how the class material and experience will impact what they want to do outside the classroom. Many of us stress and cram for the papers and exams only to reach the other side, plop on the couch, and wonder, “now what?”
Sometimes it’s not the students’ fault; it could be the nature of the course material, or the professor’s style of teaching and approach to the subject. With Touchstone, however, I’ve found both the class material, professor, and VF group /leaders compelling me to constantly bring what I’m learning and discussing theoretically into conversation with my own calling and current praxis. Better yet, through the class materials and lectures I have been given tools to use for the rest of my life this side of the resurrection.
As I continue on my vocational journey, I will encounter new places and faces, and God will still be speaking through them all, requiring me to tune into those frequencies. I will encounter new and unexpected forms of brokenness that can only be handled through personal and communal laments. Touchstone has equipped me for the journey and has also given me the methods to better those skills.
While Touchstone has prepared me for the coming quarters and chapters of life, the skills of listening to my past and the causes of my past laments have also influenced significant change in my present. My passions of the arts and artists have their beginnings much earlier in my vocational journey than I realized. In light of that discovery and my current interest to become a professor in theology and culture, I’ve changed my degree from an MDiv to an MAT to pursue post-graduate studies. Not only are things in my present changing for the better, but I will be equipped with tools to get me beyond the paralyzing, “now what?” Thank you Fuller, and thank you Touchstone.