One of the greatest things I’ve discovered in seminary is that among all these future pastors, chaplains, ministers, and leaders, there isn’t a perfect person in the whole bunch. We’re a little scared of the future, occasionally haunted by the past, continually doubting, and constantly self-criticizing. We wonder why we were called, whether we’re good enough, how we’re going to make it, and we question if we can even do this work. We are broken again and again by what we see in the world and we wonder if we can make one iota of a difference.
When I was an adolescent, I had only witnessed pastors and church leaders in their finest moments – proclaiming the word from the pulpit; volunteering to build churches in Mexico; hosting casserole-laden, non-alcoholic potlucks; speaking only positive and uplifting words to the downtrodden. In my eyes pastors were these great, holy, infallible people who could do no wrong and whom everybody loved.
I never witnessed the brokenness that those pastors experienced. I never witnessed their crumbling relationships, their mountains of doubt, their fear and frustrations, their depression, their nagging physical ailments, their “iffy-ness”.
I’m no different from my classmates. I admit that I feel so unworthy to be here and think I will never be prepared enough to go into the work for which I am preparing. If, for a minute, I step back and think about who I was and what I’ve done in my past, I quickly realize that I’m not the greatest person to be doing this. There must be someone better than me out in this great big world that is more deserving and better prepared for this than I am.
I suppose I’m writing all of this to tell you the truth about me – and about your pastors, your leaders, your chaplains, your missionaries, your seminarians – we are all just as frail, fragile, broken, scared, unworthy, and doubtful as you are. And we need each other to make it through this world; your pastors and leaders need your endless love, your unconditional acceptance, and your unwavering support as much as you need theirs.
much love. sheth.