The Wisdom and Insanity of Age
I used to be 23.
That was the year I started seminary. This was a goal, a dream, toward which I had worked for 7 years by then. Finally getting there was good, no, great, but required big changes. I had to leave my community, my friends and family, my job--yet another identity crisis. But, when I arrived there, I felt a peace I had never felt before, or since.
Sure, I enjoyed the studying, the new friends, the shared interest in faith and theology. We talked about "call" and "discernment"--what and who did God want us to be, and how were we to get from here to there? At 23, we weren't sure, but it all seemed possible, even said so in the Bible. (Luke 1:37)
Well, now I'm graduated, ordained, called and re-called, and find myself with the same questions at 40. Who and what does God want me to be? Am I called to something, or do I just do what I "feel like"? I still believe in all the mystery and excitement that got me to seminary, but I was hoping, by this time in life, to have more answers and fewer questions, a more solid sense of identity. Sigh.
Some of you know I'm a control freak. I suspect in these times of wondering, God is trying to remind me that She knows what She's doing, and She doesn't have to tell me if She doesn't want to (I suppose that's one definition of "God"). And so, I will continue to pray for the confidence and excitement that accompanied all those questions at 23, to replace the anxiety and grief that creep in so readily at 40. Thank you for being 20-something for me, my friends who are in that category; I need to rejoice in your youth. It was in the midst of such fun and frenzy that I first answered and followed that call, which led me to you and your questions. For that I am ever grateful.