I was high. Full of adrenaline from the Ordination Council. My eyes burned and my head ached, but my body was awake, energized and I needed to channel it.
I was nervous to say the least. And I kicked into task mode: finding nametags, making signs until Suzii grabbed me: "Peace be with you," she said staring into my eyes. "Thank you," I said, appreciative and tried to walk away. But she held me firmly, both hands on my arms. "Peace be on you," she repeated until I stopped saying thanks and started listening.
That moved me from being task-oriented to being vulnerable. A wave of emotion rushed over me, all the nerves I had oppressed broke free, and I thought for a moment I would cry.
But I entered the room all smiles and hospitality, and thankful, hoping the tears would not show their face today.
Roger asked me to start by telling the story of how I arrived at this point. I answered questions about call and ordination, and then Bob asked me who had affirmed my ministry. I wanted to say Kyle, but couldn't get the words out. I wanted to tell how he opened the door for me to preach and how the community of UBC embraced, encouraged and loved me. For four years. 4 years. But I couldn't talk. I was trying so hard to keep my chest from heaving and the tears from falling. I looked at Roger and said, "Please help me." He explained the story and said I'd been working hard on my grief. Then I was able to move on to Don and then Roger, all people who had affirmed my ministry.
I answered questions about criticism, favorite Bible story, least favorite story, where I wanted to be in 10 years, how I will get there, self-care, what I liked best and least about FBC, what in ministry is hard for me...
Then the ministers allowed me to ask any question I wanted. I chose, "Is it worth it?"
The sent me out in the hall while they had discussion and "voted." I was out there a long time waiting, thinking, wondering.
When they finally fetched me, I entered as they were passing around my certificate to sign. Roger affirmed that they had indeed voted unanimously to ordain me. He had tears in his eyes. Others added to his comments with their own feelings about my call. Some even said I needed to be more involved in the arts community.
And it was over. I left high. Exhausted with a crying headache, but high. Awake. Alert. And aware of the decision I had made and that had been validated. I am called to the ministry. I confessed it. It was affirmed. And now it is happening. There is no turning back. I am Jeremiah and the fire burning inside, whether I like it or not, will not die. And so I will be ordained. In less than a week.
Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa and Emily fly in Thursday. Amy flies in Friday. Josie and Julie arrive Saturday. Lance arrives Sunday. I don't know about the others.
It will be beautiful, it will be hard. But it will be my calling. Affirmed. Commissioned. And there will be no turning back...