I've been told on numerous occasions, by my friends and classmates, that I shouldn't be nervous. They tell me that I have no reason to worry about tomorrow, that all will be well. And I know that. Deep in my being, I know that. But that doesn't stop me from being anxious... Oh, heavens, am I anxious!
One of my friends compared herself, in the midst of this waiting, to a puppy. She said if she had a tail, she would totally be wagging, and she'd be staring up at the people and saying, "Like me! Like me! Like me!" I think that is a fitting metaphor for how I feel, as well.
You see, tomorrow is the day that the faculty finalizes our language.
What the heck does that mean, you ask? Well, I'm glad you did. Let me explain the first call process of the ELCA, as I understand it. At the end of our internships, we fill out evaluation forms. On the front page of our evaluation forms is a small box, where we get to write about ourselves and our call to ministry. Our supervisors fill out an evaluation form, too, and on the front of their form is a similar box where they are given the opportunity to describe us. The internship committee of our internship church gets the same opportunity. These forms are sent to the Contextual Education office of our seminary. Then, in our senior year, we do what is called Approval Interviews, one with our faculty and one with our home synod candidacy committee. Then, our faculty gets together and write a paragraph about our theological/academic abilities and then another about our pastoral abilities. I believe our candidacy committee writes a paragraph about us, as well. All of these paragraphs are then put on one page of paper, and attached to the front of all the other forms we have to fill out. These packets are what all of the bishops in the United States get to look at when they come together for the assignment process. The assignment process is similar to the NFL draft, but with pastors instead of large football players. So, these bishops try to pick the people they think will best fit the context of their synods based on the information in the packets, but primarily the paragraphs on the front page.
So, the work that the faculty will be doing tomorrow could impact the rest of my life. And it also gives me a clear idea of how the faculty views me. So, there's that need for approval, as well as the thought that, holy crap, tomorrow is like the hinge for the rest of my life. What these people decide to write about me could definitely determine in what direction my life swings. It's crazy and is causing me some anxiety.... I'm gonna go have a beer.