So the way my denomination does it is that, to be ordained, you need to complete a year of internship in a congregation. So many Lutheran congregations become regular internship sites and keep getting interns year after year after year. For example, I am the fifth intern that my congregation has had. Now that being said, here is where the weirdness comes in.
I said that I'm ready for my internship to be done. I know I wrote a whole post
about how my social life was shot to crap since I've been here. But it seems the mothership [seminary] has just officially assigned next year's interns to their internship sites. So I know who will be coming after me. And that is weird. Because it really kind of gives what I'm doing here some finality. Someone else is going to come be the intern pastor at MY internship site. To MY people. And it's not going to be MY internship site and they're not going to be MY people much longer. That's weird. And troubling. I don't like this feeling.
As much as I complain about it, I LOVE this work. I love joking around with the older gentlemen. I love getting to go to the hospital to see the newborn babies. I love hanging out with the high school youth. I love leading worship and sometimes I even love preaching! I love being invited into the precious moments of people's lives... births, deaths, baptisms, sicknesses... what other job let's you connect with people when they're at their most vulnerable in so many different aspects of their lives? And just when you feel as if you're connecting and fitting in and beginning to get past taking baby steps, they send you an e-mail to let you know who is going to be replacing you. I was excited to know who it was, to know who'd get the wonderful experience of getting to know this amazing congregation. But now that I know, I don't want to let the next person have them. I want to keep them. They're mine.
But such is relationships and such is ministry. Growing up with a Pastor for a dad, you think I'd know that nothing is permanent and just like God called you to go be with a certain community God can - and will - call you away from them to someplace else. Growing up with a Pastor for a dad you think I'd have been smart enough to high tail it the other direction, and not let this crazy notion of full time ministry even enter my thought processes. But I did, and I'm here, and I let these people get under my skin and into my heart. And now I have to start thinking about the process of letting them go.
That being said, I still have like 5 months here in this place. And 5 months is still plenty of time to have some good times and do some great ministry. And I plan to take advantage of that time. But 5 months will go quickly, if they are going to be anything like these past 7 months were. Of course, if you know me, then you know I have this complex where I need to be liked. When I was a church camp counselor I had this deep, subconcious need to be the most popular male counselor. I think it stems from being sort of an awkward, geeky adolescent. And always thinking that I was somehow lacking because I wasn't in the "cool" group. Now, being older and wiser, I know that's ridiculous and the kids in the "cool" group were probably just as awkward and unsure of themselves as I was, or perhaps even more so, they just were able to cover theirs up with good hair and designer clothes. I had crazy hair and hand-me-downs. Anyway, so it sometimes creeps in and the need to be "the favorite" resurfaces. Tonight, after I found out, I was going to the store and I found myself thinking of all the things I could do in these next 5 months so that the congregation would like me better than the incoming intern. After a couple of minutes I realized what I was doing. What difference does it matter if they like the next intern better than me? Good for him, and great for them. I'll have moved on by then. It won't make a difference. And he's so much different than me, I'm sure there are people who have connected with me better than they'll connect with him and vice versa. And that is the way that it should be.
Anyway, I need to clean some stuff up. I've let the stress of the past week catch up to me and I have this deep need to do some cleaning before I go to bed this evening. It's weird and it doesn't happen too often, so I go with it when it comes. Because otherwise, in five months they'd have to burrow through the junk to find me when it was time for me to move out. And no one wants that.