The Final Countdown!

Anyone else have the trombones and synthesizer music from the Final Countdown in their head?  Thank you Europe for that instant reference!ClickHandler.ashx?

The final weeks come down the pike as I prep to cross the stage as a graduate.  I have seen the ceremony many times in person, have dreamt it countless times in my sleep, anticipating what the day will look like.  What I don’t know is what to feel.  I look forward with great excitement to that day.  I am also a bit overwhelmed.  Whoa.  No guaranteed safety net, no ready community backing me no matter what I do….the mistakes- when I make them are mine and mine alone.  Somehow we graduates think we are to have it all figured out…the MASTER plan revealed and suddenly we are launched into the world and expected to have our act together.

One my classmates, who is also graduating, mentioned that they were feeling the same way.  A certain pressure to have it figured out, the education gained, the training complete.  My gut tells me that we will never be done learning and honing the skills.  My gut also tells me that what we all need are not more pastors trained to say the right thing, we need people who are willing to crawl into the muck and gunk and crap with us. 

The last four years have forced me to look academically at faith and theology and to try to find an answer for something that does not have a concrete answer.  The faith that I encounter does not have rational thought, but to NOT believe in something larger than me is IRRATIONAL!  To explain from an academic or scientific manner–would be like trying to put a rational explanation to the emotions that erupt when my child embraces me.  How can I put a definition to sunsets, wind, the sound of water rushing over the rocks?  The last four years also made me examine every reaction, my personality, my mental status, and my faith.  What a road!  For those that think the Seminary gig is a piece of easy pie, the opposite is true. 

It is a journey of self exploration and pruning that is necessary to be present with others on their journey.  It was the hardest 4 years I have traveled.  In less than a month I will put this piece of my story away and reflect on its impact.  Ah, the stories I can tell, the conversations and revelations….

I have at this time let go of becoming a Reverend in a congregational setting.  It is not my place to Administrate and lead an already established church.  My place is with the people in the streets, the homes, those of us that embrace being the least, the lost, and the lonely.  The biggest lesson I have learned came not from any books, although they have taught me volumes (PUN INTENDED).  I learned more from being present with other people…I learned that their story and my story weave together, creating a tapestry of wonder that is the GREATEST story ever told.  It means that no matter the situation or what brings us together, that I am encountering a brother or sister of humanity, created by the ONE who does not claim judgment and wrath or hatred.  Each time I speak with a person, whether we like each other or not, I am speaking with a beloved human being….created as such and deserving reverence as a beloved creation.  That is right, each person….no matter what they have done is deserving of the same reverence and wonder that I can contemplate.  Now, I have never seen an ocean…I yearn to do so before I die…. I can only imagine what seeing an expanse of water and wonder might be like.  When I think of that and then I think of each person as a precious human being, of more worth and wonder than the ocean.  Well, the thought is simply too AWESOME for my mind to comprehend.

I will have more thoughts on this whole precious human aspect, because it is a topic with which I wrestle more than I would like to admit.  I would like to say that within the next 4 weeks I will have it figured out as the capstone to my Seminary education.  I won’t.  So, as I said to my classmate. “We’ll never know it all. We pray for grace and to receive grace humbly. ”

What say you?


SHALOM! cahl.


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