One week, Graduated

Hey there.  It’ been a while.

There once was a time when I was a student.  That has changed now, at least formally.  As of Friday, May 14, I am no longer a student.  That’s right.  I graduated.  I got the degree that I’ve been working toward for what feels like such a long time.  And it has been a long time.  Truly.

So now I face the world anew.  Master of Divinity, I am.  And what do I plan to do with this degree?  Well, that’s still up for grabs.  But I’m not too shy to admit that I have an entrepreneurial hankering to go into business for myself.  Making things.  Stoles, specifically.

You see, I began making stoles almost two years ago.  I made them for my colleagues at Divinity school, but always gave them away.  They were made with fabric that had been donated by the Divinity school community, and were being given to individuals whose forming traditions would not ordain them because of their gender and/or sexual orientation. It was good to give them away.

Though I loved that they were being given to people as a sign of hope and justice, what I loved most about these stoles was how beautiful they were and how happy they made people to have them.  So when I was preparing myself to graduate, there was a constant nagging in the back of my mind: “why not make stoles?”

Since my graduation day, I have received four custom orders for stoles.  And though I have been packing up my apartment to move onward in life, three of these stoles have already been made (well, mostly…).  In spite of all the societal norms that say my life should be a mess right now (just graduated, no “real” job, no “real” plans for the future), the most mess I see is a kaleidoscope of thread littering my living room floor from all the sewing, stitching, cutting, and quilting I’ve been doing.  And it is a glorious mess, indeed.

But please don’t get me wrong: I have plans.

I have a two-month contract job lined up for this summer, to help me save some money.  I have a place to live and to sew.  I am going to a place where I am loved, and I am leaving a place where I have made life-long friends.  I have plans to open an online shop, make business cards, spread the word about my business and start selling beautiful stoles to folks who want them.  I have plans to go to denominational and academic conferences, rent booths, solicit local religious stores to keep some of my inventory on hand; heck, I even have plans to make things like table runners, sets of place mats and other such things to sell in local non-religious stores.  Believe me, I have plans.

I never thought I would become an artisan, but it makes complete sense.

The exciting part of all this will be to see how far it takes me.  It could be that I keep at this (or something like it) for quite some time.  It could be that I am only successful at it or happy doing it for a short period of time and then move on to other things.

Right now, though, I’m just too tickled with how much I love doing what I am doing.  Packing, dreaming, sewing, and always thinking of ways to make the world more beautiful.

Though I may be graduated with an academic degree, and though I may be a theologian at heart, I can no longer deny that I am also an artist, a seamstress, a maker of beautiful things.

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