I have a friend at church who likes to smile at me when I tell her I don’t want to study. Two years ago, on Sunday evening, she usually sat next to me at Bible Study and she watched me ugly cry all over myself as I realized I could not teach any longer. She watched me howl as I realized I was going to have to do it one more year. She looks at me on Sundays now and asks me if seminary is sweet for me. She tells me how sweet it is for her, to watch me move into something new, something that does not make me cry in despair on Sundays.
Those Sundays I was crying it wasn’t just about that I did not want to go back to work. It was that I did not want teaching to die for me. I didn’t want it to die. I did not know who I was or what I was going to do if it died. I was a teacher, I was good at it, people needed me. What would happen if I didn’t do it any more? But I couldn’t do it anymore.
And I said goodbye for a whole year. I tried to slip out. I tried to avoid my goodbyes. I tried to not have to deal with the leaving, the dying, the letting go. Last year was hard, but it was a total gift to me. I walked out knowing that this was the end of the road. I loved my students well and hard, but we didn’t abandon each other. We looked at each other and told the truth. I needed to let go on purpose.
And I said hello this fall. To a new thing, to a new situation. I know for many people the first year in seminary is hard, it is a letting go of a lot of things. It is crying and begging God to show you who you are. I am not experiencing that. I am experiencing a mentor who tears up when he tells me he has been praying that me and my peers would come for a long time. He says he has been waiting for us. I am undone by this. I am undone by the thought that even as I was afraid. Even as I did not want to let go. Even as I wanted to leave without letting go, God was preparing a place for me.
If you are in a season of letting go, please know I am praying for you. But more than that, please know that the space you have right now is not the only space ever for you. If you are being called to leave, you are also being called into a place that God has for you.