Climbing the Ladder of the High Dive–Will I Jump?

I wonder if, when those who know me hear that I am considering this chaplain business, they think that I’ve gone off the deep end.  I suspect that some do.

In fact, a good portion of a lot of days, I wonder if I haven’t gone off the deep end myself.

A few weeks before beginning my Junior year of college I sat across from my Mom at our kitchen table daydreaming about the ‘first days of school’ that I would see in future years as a special education teacher.  That, after all, was the degree I was pursuing.  As I envisioned that profession, and those first days of school, I literally panicked.  I looked up at my Mom and with an edge in my voice I said, “Mom, I don’t think I want to be a teacher!”  I can’t remember exactly how she replied, but I don’t remember her being all that suprised.

So this new direction comes, and part of me wonders if I am pursuing it simply to have a direction.  Because…  from that summer day of uncertainty on, I had no ‘plan,’ for my future.  All I knew at that point was that I was a good portion of the way through a degree that I wasn’t sure I wanted to use.  Things never really got a whole lot clearer.

I worry that I will get partway through my M. Div.  and have the same type of revelation, “I don’t think I want to do this!”

Except… 

Except…. that more than I ever could with the idea of teaching, I can close my eyes and see myself doing the work of a hospice chaplain and the feeling that comes over me when I do so is contentment.

Except…. that of all the experiences that I’ve had in this last year, the privelege of standing by on ‘the watch’ as a friend or family member prepared to move on to eternity–those experiences have been the most profound, holy moments that I have ever experienced.

And…  the reality is that this path may be only part of the larger picture of my journey.  Maybe I am about to find out that I specialize in *thinking* that I know what I want to be when I grow up only to jump off the train at the last second.  Maybe I will wash out of seminary or find out that this isn’t really what I want to do. 

Maybe so…

That is a scary thing because this choice effects not just me, but my entire family.  We have to work through the financial crunch that will likely come as a result of this choice.  I don’t want to climb up onto the ladder of the high-dive, only to decide half-way through the run off that I don’t want to take the plunge.  The cost will be too high for that.  A good deal of pressure is riding on my raising off that flex-board and letting myself fall into the water below.

But what I know for now is that I feel led to face this direction.  And I use that word not knowing exactly what it means, but feeling convicted that it is at work in this case.  I know that I need to see where this path leads.  I know now more than I ever have that the ‘destination’ I have in mind may not be the one I reach when I set out on a given path, but I have to set out anyway.

And that’s ok.  I will face this direction as part of my journey.  Perhaps it is a practice of faith–of learning to listen to the voice of God.

I will face the direction and see what happens, because to be true to what beats within me, I have to.  To be true to the leading of the Spirit of God as I understand it in this moment (and it is a rudimentary understanding at best), I must.

And I guess I’ll see what happens.

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One thought on “Climbing the Ladder of the High Dive–Will I Jump?

  1. Thought you might like this “rich..ism” I read the other day….

    “I’m afraid that in the Christian church in America there’s this understanding that life has meaning basically with the success that God gives us in life. Looking at the scheme of God’s history with people, success and failure are pretty meaningless. Meaning in life is somehow beyond the way that we measure success, and that’s kind of a relief for me, to know that the weight of the world is not on my shoulders. For me there needs to be a return to the doing of things for the sake of doing them, and not for the sake of being great at it. G. K. Chesterton said, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly.” It took me a long time to get that, I thought he was just being smart. But, I realized that what he was saying was “So what; you’re not going to get a job as a caterer – learn how to cook.”

    Love ya
    T

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