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.