117 days. That's all that's left on my life here at Candler . . . before I graduate on May 9. . . before I turn the tassel . . . walk the stage . . . and into a different life . . . as somebody's preacher/teacher and hopefully pastor. As a theological scholar. Today marks my last semester here at Candler. When I started on this journey three years ago, the end seemed a lifetime away. Now that I'm in the home stretch, it seems as though the end has come quickly. But it hasn't been without the heart- and headaches and uncomfortableness that accompanies any body in transition and metamorphosis. The growing pains have been great. The temper tantrums have been many. And God has been relentless in God's quest for me. Yes, this is what this journey has been about . . . a metamorphosis. I can clearly see I'm not the same young woman who entered Candler unsure, doubtful of my intellect in this setting . . . at this age. I'm not the same woman who came in without clarity of her identity . . . her skill . . . .her purpose. I'm not the same woman who fought against God's plan and put my hands over my ears trying to drown out the sound of the voice that continues to call me toward some new adventure I didn't seem equipped to take. . . or even wanted to take.
I admit there is some anxiety about what is in the unknown, but there is also peace these days that it will come together. I used to fret over how I would remember all the stuff that has been dumped into my head over these last three years. I used to fret over whether I would be able to adequately explain the Trinity or engage in conversations with my parishioners about why evil exists and where did it originate from. I used to beat up myself for not paying more attention in Old and New Testament and doing all the required readings and often cried over whether I would be able to adequately lead and care tenderly for the souls that will be in my care.
But now, what I'm beginning to learn is that what I need will come back to my remembrance at the right time and all that I don't know, I can simply look it up. Candler has taught me how to research. All that I didn't read, I can finish reading. The answers to certain questions are no longer elusive to me nor are the questions themselves a frustration. While I would love for things to happen in my time and the way I want, I know that will not be case. Change has been in the air for many years now and it will continue to be whether I like it or not. But what I do know is it will come together. . . that even as God led me here, God will lead me from here . . . even through the darkness of the unknown.
In an interview with Holly Robinson Pete on The Talk, Oprah Winfrey shared how she had read in a Vaniety Fair article Michael Jackson's continual quest to recreate "Thriller", a feat that he was never able to do. Oprah shared that in the moment she read that, she realized she too was afraid to move forward following her decision to end the show after 25 years. She too struggled with how she would create another Oprah Winfrey Show . . . how she could recreate these moments of her past. "Then I thought, I don't want to go the rest of my life saying Oh, I wish it was the Oprah Winfrey Show," she said, "cause it won't be. I have to let that time be. Now let's move on to this moment. Let's not try to hold onto that moment."
When I came to seminary, I began to shed my identity of journalist. Like Oprah, I toiled over how I would be able to recreate the success I had as a writer and editor and expert in my field. And like Oprah, over these last few years, I've begun to learn that those moments will never be again. I must create new moments. I must be willing as Jay-Z said, to "climb to the next mountain." Afterall that is what re-inventing one's self is all about. It's about answering the call of God to move when God says move. It's about having the courage to become who I really am.
For some time now, the Divine has been saying that I'm one of the chosen as God's mouthpieces. For some time now, God has been preparing me to become a greater self than the self that previously existed. And today, I choose to no longer fight it.