Our lay ministry program, on hiatus for the summer, is starting up again at the end of September, with a "working retreat" downstate. In November one of our visiting professors, who has an interest and expertise in Islam, will be facilitating a special, overnight short course on Islam for current students and program graduates at a conference center "up north"; shortly thereafter we're having another retreat weekend.
Even though I'm the new kid on the block, I've missed meeting with my classmates. I've made a couple of good friends. Over the summer there have been occasional group e-mails back and forth. I'm looking forward to the September retreat.
But I'm feeling -- I don't know -- stir-crazy. As I think I've blogged about before, part of it has to do with the fact that I am still officially an "applicant," not a "candidate," and the process of being moved from one category to the other was so vaguely explained to me that I feel like the proverbial mushroom in the dark. Part of it has to do with not having a spiritual director, which I believe, more and more, I really need. I don't fully understand the role of our assigned mentor. I'm uncomfortable with the lack of feedback. And...we've had a great deal of book-larnin', but not so much practical application -- just one skill day on teaching a variety of audiences, plus a communication class I took as an elective.
Maybe this is parallel to a freshman-year identity crisis. What am I going to do with this? What is the point of it all?
This spring I tended to hang back a bit in class; just listening, observing, trying to figure out how things work in this program. I think, in September, I am going to be more proactive in getting my questions answered. What I would like is to sit down with someone, getting clear on mutual expectations, and mapping out what my next 2 1/2 years will look like in terms of translating my class experience into ministry. Perhaps I am trying to push a left-brained construct onto a right-brained process, but that's just me.
What does this mean? I don't know. I just don't know.