I have already started out, but I'm just going public. About a year ago, I started hearing this "voice," which makes me sound like I'm going a bit mental (and aren't spiritual leaders often accused of being insane or mentally ill?), but it wasn't like that at all.
It was more like a nagging voice at the back of my soul that kept adding up all the pieces of my life.
Something like nonprofit human service work + management experience + Type A personality + Enneagram results + spiritual seeking + ... = Unitarian Universalist ministerial calling.
I wrestled with it for months. I fought it, I ignored it, I tried to make light of it, but it wouldn't just peacefully disappear. Instead, it got stronger, that voice. So I started tentatively researching the basics - you know, being a UU and all, I started with the practical stuff. What education, what would it cost, where would I go, what was required, what books did I have to read. And then other opportunities presented themselves. Work at my church in the Religious Education department. Wellspring next year. And I made a huge step and went back to school to finish my B.A. in Communications, which I've been piddling away at since 1991. (EDGraduation: Nov., 2008).
So, finally I started floating the idea to select people. First to Tom, my husband. He wasn't enthusiastic, but he didn't tell me I was a lunatic. Then David, my ex-husband. He raved about the idea. Then to a few others, who wondered why they hadn't thought of it first. I started to think that maybe I was on to something, and I wasn't entirely crazy after all. And the voice kept getting stronger.
So I made an appointment with my ministers. It was really hard to do. But I did. And then, due to a series of scheduling conflicts, it took almost three months for us to get together. I almost gave up altogether, and was terrified when she finally called me into her office. But when I finally met with Kaaren, she didn't think I was crazy either. As a matter of fact, when I described my "voice" to her, she laughed. She said that the prophets all wanted that voice to go away too. So I was in good company, Christian or not. She encouraged me to talk to the Associate Minister, Jen Crow, which took me another couple of months to work up the nerve to do.
In the meantime, I put out some feelers about school. I even ordered materials from the local divinity school. And then met with Rev. Jen. That was a very different, but equally positive meeting. It cemented for me what I wanted to do. And I asked some very different and important questions. What does this mean for my marriage? For my children? For my life? For my daily spiritual practice? What is my daily spiritual practice? What demons do I have left to wrestle with (not too many deep ones, I hope).
So, I have a plan. I have a life that changes daily, and becomes more spiritually based and more directed toward service and community and faith.
And I need a place to connect with others; ministerial candidates or friends, or interested parties. I'm a writer at heart, and I write to process, to connect, to make sense of my self, and my world. If all goes well, I'll talk to the UUA this Fall, 2008. I'll go and visit Meadville Lombard this fall and visit my sister in Chicago. I'll apply to Divinity School in December, and start applying for loans and scholarships.
And now it's out there. It's public. It's real. I'm out.
It feels better everytime I talk about it. Every day that I think about it; that I get closer. My first steps on this journey are far behind me now, and it's all about the journey - the journey and the destination are the same. I feel lucky and loved and scared and joyous. So join me!