Six weeks have passed. My first semester of seminary is almost half over. The "mountain top" high of excitement has leveled off into a routine of classes, reading, paper writing, chapel, and meals and we all seemed in a bit of a funk this past week. During the first few weeks we kept saying how it felt like we were at summer camp and we were wondering when or if it would ever feel like we lived here and that this is our life for the next three years. I think that reality has settled in. We spent the first weeks working hard to get to know each other and it was new and exciting and fun.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not miserable now, not at all! I am enjoying my classes, soaking it all in as best I can. I'm experiencing the beginnings of what my mentor priests told me would happen – a complete reshaping of my beliefs and thoughts and it's a phenomenal feeling. I find it amazing to look at the early development of the Christian faith through various lenses and to use these same lenses to see how my faith in God the Father Almighty influences who I am and what I do – and this is just the beginning of the journey! But at the same time I think if I don't pay careful attention, these three years will fly by and I don't want to miss even a morsel of what I can discover about God or myself.
I think part of what we've realized is that right now our lives "belong" to our diocese, our home parishes, and our seminary. We have accepted God's call to this path of priestly formation and we've submitted ourselves to Wycliffe's charge to accomplish it and the faculty and staff have committed to God's direction to see us through this part of our journey. And even this realization is part of the process – we are not our own, but God's. It is something that all Christians are presented with – we are God's children, His beloved and if we surrender to it we receive the greatest freedom of all.
I keep using "we" – and that feels like the right way to say it. As I'm being formed here at school, my fellow seminarians are being formed around me and already we've made a connection with each other that is different than anything I've ever experienced. Some of us are here and have left families back home, others are married and have spouses and children here, and we all have joys and tragedies and events in our past that make us who we are. We all have a story about how God brought us to Wycliffe. Together, we are creating what we've come to call our Wycliffe Family and I am blessed by each of them every day.
I pray that God will help us all refocus as we settle down from the excitement of the first weeks here and that we not get discouraged when we feel our brains are too little for the big thoughts that are going on around us.