Surprising myself.

3 Mar
I sat at my desk today, preparing to preach at tonight’s lenten service, and found myself pondering at where I am in life.  Pondering not in a bad way, not in a how-did-I-get-myself-in-this-icky-place, but rather in the wow-I-have-come-a-long-way.  I have grown in so many different ways in the last years.  The Lindsay of two years ago, or even six months ago, would be surprised by my current self.  Let me explain –
First, I think of the Lindsay who entered seminary.  The Lindsay of two and a half years ago had no idea what she was doing.  That Lindsay was not certain at all that she belonged in seminary classes.  She questioned her call to ordained ministry and thought about seeking a degree in something other than the ordained ministry track more than once.  Contrast that to today, when I fully and whole-heartedly believe that being a pastor is the vocation to which I have been led and called.   
Let’s visit the Lindsay of middler year.  (In seminary speak, the middler year is the second year of classes.)  The Lindsay who was scared out of her wits for preaching class.  This Lindsay had a few minor breakdowns at the beginning of her middler year, never having the confidence to realize that she would be prepared for internship.  The Lindsay of today currently preaches every week.  I enjoy – yes, enjoy – sermon preparation and preaching.  I still get nervous but this time on internship has boosted the confidence in my preaching immensely.  My internship committee has told me that preaching is one of my great strengths that they observe.  I never would have guessed that would ever be the case!
Then there is the Lindsay prior to cpe.  CPE is a mandatory 400 hour experience for ordination – Clinical Pastoral Education.  I did my time last summer at a care center/low-income senior apartment building in Minneapolis.  Before cpe, I was terrified at the thought of walking into a person’s room at a nursing home and striking up a conversation.  Terrified.  I was scared to think that I would be called into situation of death and dying.  What was I to say?  To do?  CPE didn’t give me all the answers (as it can’t be expected to do) but it helped me gain confidence and familiarity with situations.  Now I have no issue walking into a hospital room or spending time over coffee and bars with the residents at the care center in Dawson.  In fact, spending time at the care center in Dawson has become one of my most favorite things to do.
Today, as I pondered, I realized how much I have grown and how much that surprises me.  It’s a true testament to what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger because, man, there were points when I thought both preaching class and cpe were going to be the death of me when really, those are two of the things that have made me grow the most.  To look back at myself a year or two ago and to see how my confidence, skills, and experiences have shaped me into the intern pastor I am now is a humbling thing.      

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