For some reason, it’s all feeling a bit more real today…
Over the last few months, I’m been heading up to Chesterfield every few weeks for a course for people who are exploring this call. This afternoon saw the fifth and final session of the course. The course has been useful. We were told at the outset that it wasn’t really so much about being taught stuff, as about being reassured that we already know what we need to know in order to get on with these first steps. Having said that, it’s been great to be thinking Theologically again, and to be in the same room as a bunch of people who are heading in the same sort of direction at the same sort of time.
But in many ways what brought it all home was the 20 minutes after the course where we talked about the upcoming diocesan panel. The diocesan panel is basically the precursor to the Bishops’ Advisory Panel. It’s the local panel that gives a flavour of what the national panel is, and is both a sort of dry-run, but also a very important part of the process of discernment and exploration (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that!)
And so we chatted about the interviews, and the presentation that we’re going to be making. We talked about what to wear, and how many people will be in each discussion group. We talked about packed lunches and parking. We talked about how to sit (apparently, women can find it intimidating or offputting if men sit slouchily, with their hands behind their heads … and there was I just feeling relaxed … oh well, forewarned is forearmed (if you’ll pardon the pun)).
And talking in such nitty-gritty terms made it all unavoidably imminent. So near. And that’s a little unnerving. And questions bubble up again. Not least, ‘Is this really the right step to be taking?’ And of course that’s not a bad thing. Ongoing evaluation and self-examination isn’t all bad. But it’s a bit alarming, too.
Alongside those sorts of questions, I find myself wondering, too, what I should do my presentation on. Those who know me and know my loves and priorities may well be able to narrow it down to a couple of topics. And I’m 90% sure what I should be doing it on. But what angle? What depth? How broad? How personal?
Questions I hope will be resolved within the next fortnight. The panel is on the 28th, and I have a feeling that the closer it gets, the less ready I’m likely to feel 🙂