I had coffee last week with An Sagart Eoin, my pastor. I always enjoy having coffee with him, although I don't do it as much as maybe I would like or should, because I'm always conscious that he probably has to talk to a lot of people with problems a lot more serious than mine. He's open and sincere and has a good perspective to offer, often one I don't see myself (and his sermons rock!).
As we were talking through my current situation and where I was looking, etc., he suddenly blurts out "You know, have you ever considered going back to school to get your doctorate in Theology? You'd probably be pretty good at it. I know there's a lot you wouldn't know right now - how to pay for it, etc. - but just a thought."
"Just a thought" - three of the most dangerous words in the English language to end a thought on, because inevitably one chews on them.
So I pondered a bit yesterday on the thought. The initial reaction was sort of exciting. I like going to school. I'm very good at studying. And it is certainly subject matter I enjoy - to teach, I should think, not to be a pastor. I know pastors - and I know the compassion and long suffering they have to have. I, unfortunately, am neither.
But then the follow-on came, as it always does: it's probably another 5-7 years to finish the program (I'd have to get one, maybe two Master's degrees and then the Th.D.), and how would I pay for that, we'd probably have to move, etc. And, to my mind the most constricting, I would worry about going through the process of application and finding out that there are parts of my past that would simply not make it possible.
But the thought still hangs there today, the day after I did all the research and the initial rejection of myself: what if? If not seminary, what if something else? Sure, I don't have any of the details worked out, but if it is the will of God, that will work itself out.