Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Five - The Fork in the Road


Singing Owl writes: I am at a life-changing juncture. I do not know which way I will go, but I have been thinking about the times, people and events that changed my life (for good or ill) in significant ways. For today's Friday Five, share with us five "fork-in-the-road" events, or persons, or choices. And how did life change after these forks in the road?

1. The first significant fork in the road in my life was born out of tragedy. As a child of 8, I was molested by a 16 year-old neighbor boy in the woods behind our house. After raping me, he told me that if I told my parents, they would blame me, and I believed him. So I buried the clothing that bore signs of the attack in the ashes of our burn barrel and tried to bury my pain there as well. But as many of you know, it is not that easy. Looking back, my relationship with my parents began to became tenuous from that point on, and my trust in people, especially male people was nil. Our family moved to another community later that summer and I was relieved to not have to look at the place of my attack or the home of my attacker on a daily basis anymore. But it was not until I sought counseling in college, that I truly began to heal from this experience.

2. The second fork in the road was the choice I made to be an exchange student and spend my junior year of high school overseas. It was a year of wonder and amazing growth for me. It bolstered my increasing sense of independence and served to deepen my sense of God's presence with me apart from a community of faith, since there was no Christian faith community with which I could connect meaningfully in the area where I lived.

3. The third fork was surely the choice I made of where I would go to college. My experiences at my alma mater, including the faith community there, clarified the direction of my life journey. I gained friends that I still count among my dearest, and I heard and answered the call to the ministry of Word and Sacrament there, though I did not fully understand that at the time.

4. The next fork in the road came when I was in the call process for the first time, and the prospect of a call to a team and a solo position loomed before me. Although our bishop had his own opinion of the choice that would best suit me, it was not until I leaned toward the solo position and discussed this with him that he confirmed that as his recommendation as well. It was not easy, and the crucible of this inwardly focused congregation nearly pushed me away from pastoral ministry. But in the end, I know that I would have had a far more difficult time discerning my own pastoral identity if I had accepted the call to team ministry at that point in my life.

5. Although there are many more I could reference, the choice to explore the possibility of a relationship with a recently-divorced man from the congregation I served was a very difficult, but clearly God-ordained choice. In him, God granted me a man with whom I could truly trust everything about myself. In time, we joined our lives as one and he has been and continues to be a precious gift of God to me. It is a joy and a blessing to walk the road of life with him, forks and all.

8 comments:

Singing Owl said...

Thank you so much for praying for me. It means more than I can say. As the day gets closer that I will preach my last sermon (and have my last paycheck) I grow more anxious. I want to walk in assurance, but I have to admit that I am not--not yet anyway.

These were wonderful to read. This F.F. is blessing me--such reminders of how God is in the randomness of life. Perhaps not random at all. Thank you for playing, and sharing these very personal things.

(((((((((REV HONEY))))))))))

Auntie Knickers said...

I'm glad most of the forks were more positive than the first one. Thanks for telling the stories.

RevDrKate said...

Thanks for the honest sharing of your story and your journey.

altar ego said...

There is great strength in the "forks" that you shared. Thank you for being so open with us. I, too, was lucky to find a man that I trust and consider blessed to call husband. Blessings to you both.

Jennifer said...

Wow. What an extraordinary woman of courage you are.

Mary Beth said...

Hugging you.

Sophia said...

OMG, revhoney. I just saw this today and am so very sorry you went through that hell...and so glad that you have found healing and the knowledge of your own beauty and holiness and place in serving the people of God.

I was so glad to meet, talk, and pray with you in Arizona and hope we will meet again next year.

(((you)))

Don said...

Rev Honey,

Your Five Forks was very moving and shows the power of faith. I am writing a book "Life Is A Fork In The Road" and collecting real life stories where people followed their inner voice (which is most likely the voice from above)to make a choice. I would love to learn more about your decision on solo calling and maybe have you write a story about that. If you're interested, the website is www.lifeisaforkintheroad.com.

Blessings,

Don Shapiro