#26: Thank you for detours.

***This is the twenty-sixth of a series of posts based on a book I’m reading for a class called Connections in Religious and Ecological Education entitled Holy Ground: A Gathering of Voices on Caring for Creation. The chapter is “Confessions of An Evangelical Treehugger,” by Matthew Sleeth.

It’s the last day of seminary.  At least, this version of seminary.  After today’s classes, and one more research paper, I will have earned my Master of Divinity.  All I can say to that is, “huh.”  Three years ago, I took a detour into the world of theological education.  I didn’t realize that at the other side of that experience my life, my relationships, and my faith would look entirely different, not exactly better, but more nuanced and often more painfully complicated.  Complexified.  Sometimes, miraculously more interesting.  Always more.  In 2007 when I quit my job, one I didn’t believe I’d be doing for the rest of my life, but a good one nevertheless, I wondered what the hell the future would look like.  I plunged into school, not knowing how everything would look at the end but thinking I had some idea.  Sort of “my-life-but-better.”  God must have laughed at that one, a trickster laugh.  Three years later, I have to say that nearly nothing looks the same.  I’m different emotionally, theologically, professionally.  The world is different, my choices are different when I look into the future, my expectations of myself and my friends are changed.  My relationships have shifted and so has the ground under my feet.  I took a detour.  The thing is, I’m pretty sure that’s the point.  When I hear people talk about detours, they always sound so… regretful.  As in, “I was supposed to be in ministry, but I took a detour into chemical engineering for thirty years first… *sigh*… I guess I was running from God.”  This usually seems to mean that there’s been a mistake somewhere.  I don’t want to stomp anyone’s personal experience, but I think that’s illogical.  We don’t take detours that don’t get us where we’re supposed to go.  That phenomenon is called “getting lost.”  You don’t usually end up in the right place, lost.  A detour gets us exactly where we’ve been going the whole time, just not by the route we had previously planned, often a better, if longer, one.  So.  Here we are.  Detoured, but at the destination.  I’m not going to regret that.

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