Friday, August 13, 2010

Five Years from Now . . .

You asked me where I wanted to be in five years . . . I told you the truth, but not all of it. Certainly, I have many dreams. And if you had asked me five years before where I wanted to be now, I would have never responded, “Living in Florida, working as a dorm mother.” Truthfully, there are days that I am disappointed in myself . . . disappointed that I’m not where I thought I would be. I’m not sure where the detour started or even if I’ve been on a detour. Maybe it was the plan all along and my questioning is the detour. Did the detour begin when I handed C. my resignation letter or when I told B.C. that I could not be the next age-level leader for her state? Did it begin when I told A. I wouldn’t marry him or when I told him I would date him? I just don’t know, but what I do know is that God is faithful and I feel more on path now than I’ve felt in years. I feel more certain about the five years before me than the five I’ve just completed.

My faith is and isn’t shaky. My research, for school, has taken me to theological and missiological places I didn’t know before. As thankful as I am for all I have learned and continue to learn, I know that because of these revelations, I will never read the Bible the same again. I miss the Bible of my youth. The one I was sure about and never questioned, even when it told me things I didn’t understand. I miss the certainty that came from just holding it in my hand as I breathed silent prayers of concern or praise. I miss assurance and yet even as I type this I am sure.

Five years from now . . . I pray you find me with a finished dissertation complete with accurate footnotes and a concise and meaningful title. Five years from now I hope to have a cohort of ministers with whom I work daily on issues related to increasing education, economic development, and health care for women. Five years from now I hope that Blooming Night Books has published at least 17 stories of women in their own words. Five years from now I hope that I will be a teacher and minister and friend living in community and donating generously to the Fistula Foundation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Five years from now I hope to have a real delegate card to the UN through some NGO, preferably the BWA. Five years from now I hope that it is OK for me to share my views on the importance of reproductive freedom for all women everywhere without well meaning sisters and brothers calling me a heretic and unchristian. Five years from now I hope to be at peace, truly at peace, with my decision to have or not have a family complete with husband and child(ren).

There are other things I would add to the list like the establishment of a training center for women similar to Mission Year but for women interested in local and global ministry. And being a Maternal Health Global Consultant . . . but adding those attaches a greater element of vulnerability and ups my level of hopefulness concerning their outcome . . . I’m not sure I have them figured out enough to verbalize them. Maybe that is what I should add, that in five years I hope to be more confident in my lack of knowing.

Five years from now let’s meet in Durban, South Africa and you can ask me the question again. I might be busy making sure the shipment of books written by some of the women present have made it through customs, and you might be teaching a workshop on chaplaincy among children or autographing your new bible study, but we will make time and remember the past five with fondness.

thanks to rustman for the use of the five photo and to C for asking the question with authenticity.


Blogger Pam Durso said...

Your post made me wish for a five-year plan for ME and made me momentarily long for the unshakeable faith of my childhood.

I will see you in Durban! But it is the journey there that I look forward to sharing with you!

(Can't wait to read the accurate footnotes! And you know, I do read those footnotes!)

8:23 PM  
Anonymous jo ann said...

Wow! I love how you think...inside and outside of the box...In five years I hope to be encouraging you to...God only knows...literally.

5:26 AM  
Blogger Meg said...

I can't wait!

7:43 PM  

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