second career student“Crazy” is the word that comes to mind when I think about moving from the comforts of corporate life to being a full-time seminary student and youth pastor. But a more appropriate description of the life changes I have experienced is “leap of faith.” “Trust” is even better. When one leaps from experienced and gainfully employed to discerning seminary student, it is understandable that one may have trust issues. God, did I hear you correctly? What am I doing here? Can I do this? Do I fit in?

The Candler student in transition is really all of us. However, there is a community of people of a certain age at Candler who have questions that we thought had long since been answered. And we may even feel a little unsteady after being on one particular path for quite some time, then audaciously answering the call to serve in ways that are unfamiliar. Essentially, these things mean for us a new way of being.

Admittedly, school is not new. However, being out of school for only-God-knows-how-long and enrolling in a rigorous regimen of reading, writing, and pastoral care is daunting. Not to mention our families, who patiently support us, are in a bit of a tailspin because Mom or Dad has to close the office door to write a 10-page essay on Barth, Cone, and McFague, and then preach on Sunday morning. Moreover, going to the End of the Year Party may not be an option, because there is a basketball game, cheerleading competition, or we are just plain tired. Our social lives rarely resemble that of the typical student.

All of this can be disorienting and maybe to some degree isolating. But there is good news. We are not in this alone. The spirit of graciousness is present at Candler, and there are resources available to help us along this new path of discovery. The Candler Writing Center, Emory Farmers Market, chapel services and the gym are just a few resources that provide care in a holistic way. We also have counseling services available to us to help sort out our feelings.

Most importantly, we have our priceless lived experiences. We have each other to hold space with and for when times are critical. And we have God who has graced us with every good gift. We are called, and we can trust that everything needed for the journey is before us waiting to serve.