Don't you just love it when you are given a moment of clarity, something that just tells you that you are exactly where you are supposed to be?
After my Pastoral Care class tonight, a classmate and I stood outside, talking about our upcoming papers. Hers is going to be about a project she's working on for her tiny church.
She's in a rural area and she wants to find a way of gathering together all the resources and programs out there so that the people who need them, can find them. In the big city, there's different permutations of this. Out in the country ... not.
Here's what started her down this path ... she's a pastor, which is not an unusual thing at this seminary. For many of the African-American churches, the order is Call first, Work second, Education third (or concurrent with second). There's work to be done, best get at it.
Anyway, one of her parishioners is a 75 year old lady, with 9 adult children, and many grandchildren. She was talking with my classmate about what she wants. Well, she said. I always did want to learn how to read.
This isn't as unusual as we would like it to be. My classmate, when she leads the adult Sunday School class, never ever asks people to read Bible verses. Because, she explains, they might not be able to read, and that would humiliate them. And then they wouldn't want to come back.
So, she wanted to make her parishioner's dream come true. Literacy programs are fairly easy to find in town, but out in the sticks, it's harder. But there are programs and she's finding one that will fit. And that made her think about all the other dreams, or just plain needs, out in her rural area. And programs to serve those needs and dreams.
She wants to call the program LINKS. And for her, it's all about getting the information out, to teach people how to find the programs they need, not just dropping it in their laps.
She held up my hand with hers, under the streetlight in the parking lot. Mine pale pink, her's dark brown. "This is what I want to see," she explained. "I can just see it ... all colors, all kinds of people, getting linked up. Learning how to find the resources you need. You want to learn to read? You want to learn about computers? You need a loaf of bread? This program will show you how to link up."
We talked more, about the details, and about the Holy Spirit at work. (She and I both like to use humor in our sermons, and she does a mean impression of Bishop T.D. Jakes.)
I got in my car and drove home. I had a major midterm exam tonight, but I wasn't thinking about it. I was thinking about my classmate's dream. And her 75 year old parishioner's dream. And I knew with all certainty:
I'm right where I'm supposed to be.