(Mister Guest Complacent left some nice questions for me after reading a recent post.  Rather than pondering them in the comments area, I thought I’d process them here…)

Ah, the little questions of life. OS is quite right that one never knows where one will end up. Who would have figured 2 years ago that I’d be responding to you from the beach in Bali (insert comment about my lame beach activities here).

Ah – pastoral guidance from my own family.  Nice.  Since you already mentioned the beach activities, I don’t need to raise the issue of trusting the wisdom of someone who mixes your skin color with the sun.  🙂

As one who did leave grad school for ministerial ambitions (a decision never regretted)…

I’m trying to recall how you processed the decision ahead of time, though.  (I remember some of the details regarding ‘where’ you processed – let’s leave those out.)  As for me, I know that I can question my motivations (good) or over-analyze (paralyzing).  However, at some very basic level, I know that I’ll (we’ll) know the choice when it arrives.  That allows me to be content, even in my impatience.  I value the Jesuit tradition of consolation/desolation.

There would be several comments I would make:  1) I never left that self-interest behind.

Yes, I realize that, which is why your current position seems obvious to me, although I don’t know Mrs.GC’s strengths well enough to know how they fit in exactly.  Processing the whole family thing might be a good topic of future conversation.

This has been an area of struggle, since there has always been a disconnect for me between faith and synchrotron science.  In hindsight, I might have chosen a more biological or environmental course of study after my time at Laurelville.  That’s wisdom to pass on to the next generation, at this point.

2) It was much easier to do as a single, even though the change was still tough.

In some ways, I’ve never been single when considering these decisions.  OS and I have been dating or married for over eighteen years.

3) There were more intermediary steps I could have taken that would have been less drastic.

I’ll pick up on this below.

4) Good lay ministry is just as important, or more so, than professional ministry.

Yes, I know.  And yet…  There is always the ‘and yet’.  I’m left with a sense of desolation.  (That sounds worse than it actually is.  Rather, there is an intuitive sense that I shouldn’t be surprised when the choice for professional ministry comes along – that I should expect it to come along.  I don’t know if that makes sense.)

Actually, come to think of it – I’d be very interested in exploring full-time lay ministry.  I’m just not sure who is doing that.

As I look back at #3…

I hear your wisdom on this point.  I have the opportunity now to explore questions about various options or choices.  I also have the chance to look at my own personality, weaknesses, strengths, and so forth.  As you noted – the issues I raised in the “Congregational update” post touch on all of the above.  And I can do all of this pondering without the pressure of an impending decision to be made.

All the best as you envision you bigger life picture and enjoy the ministry opportunities that arise and fill in that vision.

Thanks.  I imagine we’ll talk some more about this…