Puzzled Halfway Through

Halfway. As you read this, I’ll have started the second half of seminary. I still am in a bit of shock that I’m already at this point. Where has the time gone? How can this portion of the journey already be half completed? It baffles my mind!
Suddenly, I’m reminded of the lessons from cathechumenate taught by (now) Mother Michele Whitford. She instructed us to read the Book of Mark for one of our sessions. I still remember her talking about the change in the narrative once Jesus makes his “turn” towards Jerusalem. The tone of scripture and its focus dramatically changes once Jesus turns and begins that journey to Jerusalem…much to his disciples dismay. I have new appreciation for this insight because, as I reflect on being halfway, I realize that my own heart is making a turn towards a destination partially unknown but clearly fixed to the early parts of the summer of 2018.
I LOVE puzzles! Among the gifts received this Christmas, there was a puzzle. Our gift exchange theme had been “Across the Pond.” My friend, knowing my affinity for puzzles, decided one illustrating Waikiki Beach would perfectly fit our theme. Excitedly, I opened it, found the edge pieces, and began to assemble the border. Much to my surprise, what developed did not appear to match that of the image on the box! It soon became clear that the puzzle in the box was not the puzzle illustrated on the box’s cover. Both the puzzle illustrated and the one being assembled included a shoreline with buildings and water with sailboats. Having accepted that I was “flying blind,” I started to work the puzzle by examining colors and themes as they appeared to me in order to fill the puzzle in.
This also illustrates how I feel about my seminary experience so far. Last year was spent working on the “borders” of what I’d need for the basis in my future vocation. Scripture, worship, theological academics, as well as personal and spiritual growth made up the four borders. Then, as I’ve listened to the Spirit and begun to put together the inner sections, I’ve started to get a better idea of what the overall picture for my future might look like. With the Waikiki puzzle, there came a point where I saw a piece that was a shop sign with one word that I could make out: “Fudge.” At that point, knowing the puzzle artist’s name, with the clues of sailboats, hotels, shops, and people, the word “fudge” set off alarm bells in my memory (fudge, Mackinac fudge?) leading me to search to see if the artist had designed a puzzle of Mackinac Island. Sure enough! That was it!20161228_212220.jpg With a printout of the puzzle’s digital image, it became easier to fill in the rest of the puzzle. At seminary, I haven’t found my “fudge” piece yet to unlock what the overall picture for my future is, but there are whole sections of the puzzle that are filling in as I go deeper into my experiences here.
Like Jesus turning towards Jerusalem, I find myself at this halfway point turning towards graduation. My focus has changed as I look to the future. It isn’t clear what I’ll specifically be doing or where, but the picture is getting clearer. However, like the puzzle, though I may have come to seminary with “Waikiki Beach” expectations, the reality is appearing like “Mackinac Island”. Either way, the theme is still the same, across this particular pond is still forming me for the priesthood.
I continue to covet your prayers. This semester will include Ethics, Anglican Liturgy, Dante, Psalms, and Spiritual Direction in addition to my continued work with the Georgetown chaplains. I give thanks for Elizabeth Schaffenburg who texts me a photo of the Sunday bulletin’s prayer list. Praying for the needs of our parish helps me remain connected to y’all.
By His Love,                                                                                             Bobbi

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