Certainty (or: Why I Went to Seminary) – Day 26

When I was in high school, my church hosted a local professional wrestling event. We had a pro wrestler attending our church and we had a gym, so the event was a match made in…Brooklyn Park. Post-wrestling match, I began to watch wrestling on TV (and I can feel the judgment from here). On of the many things that struck me about pro wrestling was how each wrestler was certain of the victory in their upcoming match. This struck me as peculiar, since the wrestlers couldn’t both win the match. I realize the show was all scripted and whatnot, but I’ve begun to see that pro wrestler’s mentality more and more outside of the ring.

One of the places I see this the most is in politics. Whether in political discourse or political campaigns, everyone is sure that they or their candidate are right, and they are sure that they or their candidate will win. How many people have been the next President of the United States since the birth of the country? In terms of discourse, people seem so set in their beliefs without room for change or even for entertaining opposing perspectives that I am often turned of from any of these (attempted) discussions.

I am a person who rarely uses absolutes. The more I’ve learned in life, the more I’ve come to think that less is certain than we think it is. Almost nothing in our future is certain, so I rarely give definitive statements related to the future. Even with everything I’ve done to try to understand what comes next, all of the schooling and planning and thinking, has led me to less certainty now than perhaps at any other point in my life.

I considered the possibility of going to seminary right around the time I started college. Even as an engineering major, I felt like I wanted to know more about the Bible and Christianity and other similar topics, and I felt that seminary would be the place to get a bunch of information in a short amount of time (is also didn’t hurt that I was at a school with a seminary). I did end up going to seminary (well after dropping the engineering major), and one of the biggest reasons I went was to try to figure out what to “do” with my life.

After finishing seminary, I was more sure about what I wanted to do in a general sense, but less sure of how to accomplish that goal in a specific sense. It seems in the last year (and throughout my time in seminary) I’ve come to find many more things I don’t want to do than a specific thing I do want to do. I find myself envious at many points of people who’ve always known what they wanted to do or have found a thing that they enjoy doing, because I am still searching for what this means for me.

Had this been the only reason I went to seminary, I think I would have been better served not going. I very much appreciate my seminary experience, and the numerous other reasons I decided to go are the reasons why going to seminary was the right decision. Even so, I still expected less difficulty in figuring something out than I’ve found in the last year.

Perhaps even more frustrating at this point is the weakening of my certainty about what I’d determined I wanted to do in the more general sense. It’s seeming less and less likely as time goes on that there is a specific vocation for what I came out of seminary wanting to do; or, at the very least, like that type of profession is so small that it requires a very specific skill set that I find myself wondering whether I possess.

This whole process has led me to become more and more skeptical of certainty in almost every aspect of everything (especially when humans are involved in the decision-making process). I think the quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin, that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” may be a bit too restrictive, but not by much. Very little (quantitatively) is truly promised to us in the future, no matter what we think or what we try to do.

All of this rambling is to come to the point that even less is certain for me at this point in time because tomorrow is my last day at my current job, and any sort of “plan” I have for the future is very nebulous (basically, I don’t have another thing lined up). This is obviously less than ideal, but I spent a large amount of time coming to the determination that it was time to leave. One of the few certainties I have about the near future at this point is that I will need to find something very quickly to continue to support myself, because my current funds will not support me for much longer. Other than that, uncertainty is becoming a close (and rather unwelcome) acquaintance.

There is much more that could be said about my philosophy of work, the relationship of doing what you want versus doing what needs to be done, and doing what is best for one’s self and for their community, but that is a discussion for another time. I am very aware of the position I’m in with regards to these three topics, and will perhaps be able to shed more light on them in the near future. In addition, I’m sure I will discuss more about what I was doing in this soon-to-be previous job, but I would first like to take some time to reflect before I begin that discussion (there’s also a fair amount of non-disclosure stuff related to some information, so any discussion about the job will be more general than specific). For anyone who reads this, prayers would be appreciated as my (and our) process of discernment continues.

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