After a quick stop at Starbucks and a bit of a jog through the Charlotte International Airport, I arrived to my gate and glanced out the window at the plane that would take me home. I chucked to myself when I had to do a double take to make sure I was in the right place. “Fort Myers, FL” was emblazoned all over the gate monitors, but Fort Myers hadn’t even been my home for a month.
Truth be told, while I’m SO excited to be on this new journey in SW FL, I just haven’t fully grown accustomed to this new normal yet. This is a fact made a bit more complicated by the week I just spent in the mountains of Western North Carolina. WNC isn’t home either, of course, but I was surprised to discover that it felt familiar to me. If anything, I’m finding that I’m caught somewhere in the liminal space between “then” and “now.” Somewhere between “first call” and “second call.” Somewhere between “who I thought I was” and “who I’m called to be.”
Thanks be to God for my journey to the mountains of North Carolina. I was in the perfect place for processing the inner workings of those liminal spaces: CREDO, one of the best-kept secrets and most important programs of the Presbyterian Church (USA). A space set apart for pastors to reflect, to discern, to dig deep, to be transformed. This is important, holy work. It’s uncomfortable work. It’s scary work. It’s necessary work.
“Trust the process,” the CREDO faculty often said last year, during the first week of a twelve month experience. Despite my skepticism and fear, I dug deep and offered up every ounce of trust I could muster. Stepping out in seeking a new call. Stepping out in changing some tried and true patterns and rhythms. Stepping out in becoming more comfortable in my skin, and for living boldly as the beloved child God created me to be. I can’t presume to speak for all CREDO participants, of course, but this program has been nothing short of profoundly transformational, life-changing, and life-saving for me.
Fast forward a year, to the end of the CREDO experience. As I look back on the past twelve months, I'm startled to find myself without any words, but with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Gratitude for new calls and new journeys. Gratitude for faculty who freely offer their wisdom and joy to allow others to thrive. Gratitude for strangers who have become the best of friends. Gratitude for the courage to step out in ways I didn’t think would ever be possible. Gratitude for the family who has and who continues to support me through it all.
My heart is full.
PS – I’m grateful, too, for the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (USA), whose support of the CREDO program is a gift to the denomination, and to the lives of PC(USA) pastors all over the country.
I'm a husband, a father, a news junkie, a theatre enthusiast, an amateur foodie, a wannabe barista, and an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
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