Well this waiting is starting to come to an end until I am in California. This past week I have not worked, which I really could get used to. As I have been home I have been doing the normal errands, but I also have had some time to really think about many things. The one that is most on my mind is "Why am I doing this?" Why am I changing my comfortable life, moving 1300 miles away from my husband and my family? I keep telling myself that I have to follow where I feel God is calling me to. There are many times I wish that when we are born we are given an envelope that tells us what our career and life is going to be. This would make life much easier, or would it?
I look back in my life and see how different I am now than when I was going through seminary the last time. I have grown, I have matured, and I have been able to really sit back and dissect what I am thinking and feeling.
Which brings me back to how do I know that what I am doing is the right thing to be doing? Well I have come to the following conclusions:
1) My whole life, I have wanted to become a priest. I would dream of being up at the altar celebrating the eucharist as well as working with people where they are at in their faith journey.
2) I heard this call being echoed through the discernment process. For those who do not know what is involved in the discernment process first you meet with a group of people from your church for 12 months. During this time they ask some set questions as well as any other questions that might come to them. Next, if the local discernment committee moves your forward, you then get to take a medical evaluation, a full day psychological evaluation pull all the paperwork together for the diocese and then finally you spend three days with the diocesan discernment group. I went into this discernment conference feeling nervous, but refreshed after spending 2.5 days on a silent retreat. During the time with the diocesan discernment committee you have large group exercises, small group exercises and one on one meetings. Finally, on the last day I met with the Bishop, I will tell you that I was so nervous but in the end I left there saying "I was who I was (thanks Popeye) and now it is in God's hands." Well even though this sounds easy it was far from that, I came home and watched the Rocky and Bullwinkle show for about 3.5 hours until I got the call saying I have been moved forward. Then the background check happens and you have to sit with another psychiatric evaluation.
After looking back on what I have had to do to get where I am this shows me that I must be following God's call because I could not have done all of this without God's help as well as the support of everyone.
3) Finally, and this is a pretty interesting answer is that this is what I think I need to be doing right now. My hope is that I would be ordained however, God might have a different plan. All I can do is move forward and put the rest in God's hands.
People have been asking me "how I am doing" and I can honestly say that I am pretty surreal. My stuff is in California (to be delivered tomorrow) my ticket has been booked and I have said most of my see you laters, but there seems like everything is just floating on by. I think Sunday will be a little different but the reality will hit me on Monday morning when I wake up and Matthew, the pugs and the cats are not there. I know it will be hard but I also know that God will give me the grace to deal with the feelings and to move forward.
When I first started the local discernment group, I thought that the end of the group would mean the end of the discernment. However, as I continued in the process I realized that discernment never ends. Right know it is looking at should I become a priest or not; but then it will turn into where is God calling me to work, to it is time to change what I am doing. I think that discernment is not just a "holy" thing but rather what we all have to do in our lives; we just need to open our hearts and our minds to listen and act on what we are hearing.