It was mid-November, 1998, when I finally found the courage to actually say out loud the words that had been bubbling in my heart for some time: “I think I might be called to the priesthood.”
It wasn’t until Nov. 15, 2008 that I actually WAS ordained, and then it was to the diaconate. My ordination to the priesthood didn’t come until six and a half years later, on June 13, 2015.
So that’s 16 ½ years to achieve a goal that, if all had gone smoothly, could have been been accomplished in as little as five years. But those years were anything but smooth. There was delay after delay after delay. Some of the delays were the foreseeable consequences of my own actions. Other delays just came out of nowhere to blindside me.
Yet in retrospect, I can see the value of all those bumps in the road. The journey is at least as important as the destination itself, even if we do seem to be plodding along at a snail’s pace when we’d rather be racing. God isn’t bound by our human timetables. As theologian Teilhard de Chardin famously said, “Above all, trust in the slow work of God.”
I’ve been reminding myself of this all week as I think of our bathroom project here at St. James. As those of you at church on Sunday heard me acknowledge, we’ve encountered yet another excruciating delay. This, despite my announcement in last week’s Gleanings that construction would begin on Tuesday. We got so close. We have the funds. We have submitted all the required paperwork. We have the construction permit. We just could not have foreseen the unexpected and last-minute hiccup in our contractor’s licensure that may take up to six weeks to address.
It is tempting to think of this bathroom project as cursed. If our storage closet had aspirations of becoming a priest instead of an accessible bathroom, it would be halfway through seminary by now!
But let us not give in to defeatism. Eventually, that bathroom will get built. And all these delays? They’ll just be fodder for great stories handed down from one vestry to the next. Somewhere in the struggle, there’s a gift for us. And in the flush of time, we’re all gonna laugh about it. Right?
- Becky +