Have you ever been journeying towards something that takes a long time? Maybe it was a degree or some kind of certification. Maybe you were working towards saving enough money for a trip or a special purchase, like a house or a car. Whatever it is, when you finally get to the end of the journey, when you finally reach your goal, when you finally make that purchase, there is a mixture of emotion that can go from jubilation and excitement to disappointment, depression, and just a general feeling that things were a little anti-climactic.
After about a year of trying to transfer my Baptist ordination to the Presbyterian tradition, I am finally done. I’ve been approved, and although I will be celebrating a decade of ordained ministry within the church, I am finally being recognized by my own denomination as a pastor. It’s been a long journey, during which I lost my dad and went through a church split and rebirth. One of my friends called the process “Presbyterian Hazing.” Having gone to a college with a large Greek population, the analogy isn’t lost on me, except this process didn’t involve things that could get me arrested or cause physical harm.
When you have to work hard towards something, it can certainly be a beneficial time of reflection and contemplation. When I was in seminary over the past years, there were a number of things that I wanted to wrestle through on my own, trying to figure out how I felt about them. Designating time to wrestle through difficult issues can be incredibly formative and I felt like that’s what happened.
I think that I can say the same about this process. It’s rare that someone goes through a process like this with as many observers as I have had. The majority of my church was watching as were my friends on social media. I have been blessed with some very good friends who have helped push me along in my own growth as well. I have had the support of my fellow pastors, my church family, my wife and kids, and many friends all over. That kind of support network is invaluable and it’s hard to express my gratitude at how much that network has meant to me.
People keep asking me what my next endeavor will be. While a doctorate is something that I would love to pursue, I’m absolutely assured that my family needs a rest. I won’t be venturing into that in the near future, but I hope to eventually. Over the weekend I had a conversation with someone that sparked many thoughts in my head, but we all need a rest, including me. I’m looking forward to this new phase of the journey, the adventure. Let’s see what happens!