The 5-Year Plan

I've always had one. (I've never ended up where I expected to, but I've always had a plan). Even though my job right now is to be attentive to God's leading, I'm a busy little squirrel, gathering acorns and trying to figure out which seminary to send them to.

In my defense, I'm a planner because I think there are exciting things ahead. I'm not (despite what you might think from previous posts) by nature a pessimist. I've always been very certain that what's coming up is going to be very, very good. (I thought that when I was 10 and wanted to be an actress, when I was 12 and wanted to be a lawyer, when I was 19 and wanted to be a professor. And I think it now, at 25, looking to a vocation that lets me be a little of all of those.)

The breakdown of my (two most likely) options for the bulk of the next 5 years:

Virginia Theological Seminary:
*I get the impression it's a little more prestigious. Several of our bishops have gone there, so that might make career transitions a little smoother.
*I'll be within regular visiting distance of at least 3 close friends.
*I've loved loved loved living in DC.
*Mr. M is more likely to find a job/social life.
*Because they're bigger, they seem to offer more.
*There seems to be more diversity among the students.

University of the South:
*The area is BEAUTIFUL.
*The cost of living is much lower.
*It's closer to my family.
*The campus is gorgeous.
*I've really enjoyed small schools.

Obviously, I'm leaning towards VTS at the moment... but a month ago, I was leaning towards Tennessee. I'm ready to start visiting.


Great Advice

Mr. M had a horrible day at work on Wednesday. Really, really dreadful. His boss is, to put it mildly, extremely unpleasant.

So I passed on the best advice I've ever found in a trashy novel (by my favorite, Jennifer Crusie, in the book Strange Bedpersons):

"The key to fighting was never to fight unless the cause was so great that you couldn't bear not to defend it and the losses you were going to suffer were things you could afford to lose...If I did decide to fight, the thing to remember was that I was going to get hurt, because that's what happened in a fight, so I might as well get myself reconciled to it in the beginning and then it wouldn't matter when it happened."

Seemed to have worked well-- Mr. M went back on Thursday, and had a much better day.

In any event, Mr. M finding a new job when we relocate next year is no longer something I feel guilty about.


Worry-- The 8th Deadly Sin?

While it might not be one of the fatal infractions, I think I'm on the verge of fretting myself into the grave.

I blame Mr. M.

OK, that's not really fair. It's not his fault, but it does have to do with him. I'm finding that making decisions now (as opposed to a year ago, before we got hitched) is much more stressful for me. I can't believe this didn't occur to me before we got married, but I worry a lot about how things will affect him: moving for seminary, moving to different parishes, maybe having kids later than planned, my mountain (scratch that, mountain range) of debt from undergrad.

I came to the conclusion a couple of days ago that the best way to handle it was to make sure that I do my best at everything; that way, his sacrifices won't be wasted.

I haven't stopped worrying.

I feel extremely responsible for our well-being (financially, socially, etc) because I'm making a lot of the major decisions. He's supportive, which is amazing, but I'm the one initiating changes.

What exacerbates everything is that I don't feel like I have close friendships with people of strong faith right now. I need to find people to buoy me up, and I've had such a hard time with that since I've moved here.

In completely unrelated news, check out this story from NPR on Iranian women's fancy underthings. I love it.


The Question of Same-Sex Unions and the Anglican Communion

Yet again, the episcopal church has made the news. Not because we're feeding the homeless or working toward peace in the Middle East, but because we're divided on the issue of same-sex unions.

What's interesting to me is not the argument over Bishop Robinson's consecration, but the fact that everyone is ignoring that this sort of diversity of idea is the foundation of the Anglican church (and therefore also the Episcopal Church USA). Henry VIII didn't think he was starting a new church (he's probably pivoting in his grave at the idea that he wasn't Catholic), Elizabeth I did-- and it was because there was such violent division in her country. The Anglican tradition is founded on unity between those who are exploring different, sometimes opposing, ways to live into their Christian faith.

Regardless of my personal feelings (maybe you'll get those another time), it's so important to have a church that lets us examine our faith in a safe place.


Getting started...

About 2 years ago I started thinking about becoming a priest. In some churches I might be frocked by now, but I'm finding the Episcopal church is very... thorough. Which means I'm still in the early days of discernment.

I used to think that I was impatient, but as it turns out, that's only true when I don't know what's going to happen next. The 5 more years that this process takes before I might (might!) become ordained isn't a big deal, because it's all laid out. Whew-- structure!

Here's what I've done so far:
  1. The Diocesan 1-year "Exploring Your Ministry" class.
  2. Regular meetings with my Parish Discernment group.

Here's what's left (as I understand it):

  1. Getting invited to BCOM (the Bishop's Commission on Ministry, a weekend-long interview).
  2. Serving a (roughly) 6-month lay internship in another parish.
  3. Going to seminary for 3 years.
  4. Becoming ordained as a transitional deacon/ serving a curacy.
  5. Getting ordained to the priesthood.

The next few years are going to be busy. Did I mention I got married less than a year ago? Right. Mr. M is incredibly supportive, but that certainly throws a few new issues my way.

It's going to be a heck of a ride...