pilgrimages have destinations

My destination for this pilgrimage? Know Where I’ll Be Next Fall For My Next Phase.

When my pilgrimage class began, that destination looked like “find out more about PhD locations.”

Two weeks before making the pilgrimage, S. approached me about how I felt about doing a two-year congregational pastoral residency.

Over the course of the five days, I meditated and prayed and mused about residency vs. finding a school-match for an unusual specialty during pandemic. It was unexpected, to consider being a congregational pastor for a few years, but in many ways it seemed a flattering plum, and much easier to approach than discerning a school had thus far been.

I decided I’d say yes to them.
Oh, and on the last day of pilgrimage, just before I set out for the labyrinth, I was approached, asked if I would be interested in writing classroom helps for the next edition of a nationally-known women’s Bible study — knocked the wind out of me!
I walked the labyrinth, brain still whirling around the unexpected, both of them, and practicing my yes.

Monday I discovered that residency wasn’t as easy as my saying yes; there’s an application.
Tuesday over breakfast I read the job description — oh? it’s a specific role? — and discovered half of it’s the student/youth pastorate. Which made my stomach plummet, and my body panic all morning. By midday I’d formally declared I would not apply.
Tuesday after lunch, the national study editor asked me my ethnicity, since they are working to be tangibly more equitable and not just vaguely. (Excellent! Go team!) I’m a dominant US ethnicity. It’s left open to them, but…

and yet and still
I’m half a week past my leaning into unknown, stretchy things
feeling that all of that YES is tossed aside:

a test of my loyalty? God, that seems unworthy of you.

I thought I’d reached the pilgrimage-destination. I’m exactly where I started from, even though I traveled all that way-!

**
Post-script: There are, it seems, other pastoral residencies across the US besides that initially-mentioned one. They send their information to our Dean of Students, who then shares that with us. So there are other possibles. Who might all tell me, “No,” too! <sigh>

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