Over at ER's place a couple days back, he asked in comments about my seminary experience. As he had asked that after I had left for work, and as I tend to move on in my reading rather than browse comments left the previous evening on threads that seem to have dried up a bit, I missed the invitation.
I got thinking that I had already done some of that, so I checked out my archives, and lo and behold, here it is from June.
I just want to add some additional, clarifying thoughts. The emotional intensity of seminary, at least in my own experience, was heightened by my own exploration, in sessions with a therapist, of my own life, and an emerging brutal honesty about myself and my failings. With that experience came a desire to change the way I related to other people, which included an avoidance of certain passive-aggressive tendencies, preferring open and honest communication to the sullen, simmering rage of suffering in silence. When you opt for openness and honesty on all levels, it sometimes can come across wrong, especially when you're new at it. I think I suffered from this more than a little.
Another point I tried to make, but wasn't explicit, at least to me, is the ever-present dual reality of a close-knit community living in close proximity to one another. In retrospect, I am surprised that there were not more arguments that simply came to blows, if for no other reasons that there was little room for maneuver; everyone knew pretty much everything that went on, and everyone heard every adverse comment another student made. At the same time, I found myself, fairly early, becoming part of a group of second-year students who seemed to embrace me fairly easily. This very real, specific instance of "community" in my life - its acceptance of me, and my embrace of them - is a gift I shall always treasure. Knowing that something like that will never happen again saddens me, but it also makes that time, and those people, and that place, that much more special precisely because of its uniqueness.
A third factor in my own experience is more personal, but nevertheless important. In the course of my seminary life, I had two very serious relationships (one of them with the woman I eventually married), and one or two other flirtations (or more than that, at least in one case), at a time when I was just beginning to feel confident of being in a serious, adult, mature relationship with a woman. The reasons for that are far too personal, and irrelevant anyway. I suppose the kind of heightened emotional state of life in seminary added to the intensity of the feelings of romantic attachments I had (when one's emotions are so highly labile as that, separating it all out can be a near impossibility); it can also cloud one's judgment, making discernment, especially as regards what is in one's best interest in matters of the heart, very difficult. It did in my case, although I ended up extremely fortunate when Lisa Kruse entered Wesley in the autumn semester of 1992.
Anyway, that's all I got for now on that.