The Last year

Today begins Orientation for the class of 2007. I went to chapel this morning for Morning Prayer for the first times since spring, and it felt good to be there with the new Juniors. I so vividly remember (easy, since it was only two years ago!) sitting in chapel our first day – everyone was dead quite and everything very still. I smiled, because all I wanted to do is break the silence and uneasiness by doing or saying something silly. Three years of study, relationship building, challenge, frustration, and excitement lay ahead. Now, two short years later, I look at the new Juniors and know what is going through their minds, feel the uneasiness over what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. In 45 minutes we head to the Refectory for lunch – new chief, no more water streaming down the walls, no more soot falling all over everything, and we begin again the ritual of communion with one another.
I have been involved with new student orientation in one form or another for the past 20 years, and this is the first year I am not. It feels funny – I feel like I need to be doing something, and I feel a bit left out. The experience of seminary, and particularly of General, is remarkable. I think much of it is unhealthy and unbalanced, but hey what do I know? We make it through and what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?
I am feeling butterflies in my stomach. Why? Because, being my last year, everything I experience from day-to-day will be the last such experience of seminary life and M.Div. degree preparation. It is all leading to GOE’s, graduation, and (gulp!) being a priest in Christ’s one holy and apostolic Church. Our attention and vision will increasingly leave this place and be focused on other things. This is all good, of course, but I have no idea what I will be doing, no idea of where I will be going, and suspicious of whether I will find a position. This is also the year that all hell will break loose over the controversies of the past year. The Episcopal Church USA and the Anglican Communion are in for a very bad year, I fear, and both entities could be very different come May 2005.
My God, what have I done? It is all too easy when there are three, two years yet to go, but when the last year has arrived and all things lead to an ending, it simply is not easy. I’m not ready. I know nothing. I could work for a non-profit. I could find another position working with students within a university. Being a priest, however, I just don’t know. God help me! God help them!!!

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