Today was a big day for senior seminarians in the ELCA. Most of us got our regional assignments today on a piece of paper in an envelope in our mailboxes (that's how we did it at our seminary, anyway). I already know my region and synod because J is a rostered leader and bishops don't like to give up their rostered leaders. It's been kind of nice to not have to worry about where I'm going, but again, I find that I ventured away from "the norm" on this one. I didn't have to worry about doing CPE in between junior and middler year because I did an extended unit my first semester here. I didn't have to worry about being flung to some state about which I knew nothing for internship because I was married (though there was anxiety regarding the question of whether or not I'd actually get to live with my new husband). And now, I know where I'm going for first call because J is a pastor. I find it slightly odd that each step along the way, I've had a slightly different experience from a lot of others. Oh well. The majority of my classmates are waiting to see what synod they'll be assigned to. Bishops can start calling on March 3rd for most of us, though one region is earlier, and one is later. Please continue to pray about this.
I'm looking forward to first call. I like North Dakota well enough. The people are great, the scenery has its own unique beauty, and the winters are...interesting. The ONLY thing I really dislike about North Dakota is that it is 800 miles away from my family. I have always been very close to my sisters, and I think we all three are grieving that I will not be around much for the next (at least) three years (probably). Yet, the call of God to serve the Church is not always full of sunshine and roses. Certainly, I don't think I am DOOMED because I won't be near my sisters (and brothers and nephews), but I have realized even more fully these past 11 months HOW VERY IMPORTANT family is. I will miss my sisters, but I have hope that someday J and I will move back to be closer to them. I don't need to be ridiculously close, but 13 1/2 hours is a bit excessive.
Anyway, I keep reminding myself that we get vacations. We have phones and webcams and some of us keep in touch via Facebook. And, I am married and love my husband and want to live with him. And, it's also kind of fun and interesting in its own way that I am the only one in my family who is flung far and wide.
I know that many of my classmates are having similar reactions to their own assignments; a mix of grief and excitement and wondering what is next. I know that some of us are happier than others, and I know that many of us are in different places regarding accepting the changes coming our way. But most importantly, I know and deeply trust that God is present through all of this. The Holy Spirit has called and continues to call us to be messengers of the Good News of Jesus Christ. I know it because I see it and live it every day as I live in community with my amazingly talented and thoughtful classmates, and as I live in community with the wider church and the world.
Please continue to pray for all seminarians, their families, and the places to which we will be called. God hears our prayers.