One of the things people have been saying since I wrapped up my seminary career a few days ago is "Well, now you can get back to normal!" The truth is, I'm not even entirely sure what that means. I've been in school for 10 years! Do I have to get back to that normal? I took a break when I first started here at Westminster. Is that the normal I go back to? Or is it in fact better to invent a new normal, a prospect that is equal parts exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time? I think the third option is the only way forward.
So I sat down this week and sketched out a new weekly schedule. What do my days look like? How exactly is it that I budget my time? What causes are going to fill in the time that Seminary used to take up, and which still need to be shelved? How much time do I give myself for creative endeavors, like writing or dreaming up new ideas for the coming ministry year? And how much am I willing to commit to this for the next two weeks before I take off for sabbatical, effectively pushing the reset button on all of it?
I'm not sure on all of those things. For sure this week I've already had more time to hang out with my little dudes, and that has meant the world to me. I'm sitting right now in a branch office, a practice that was huge for me before seminary got busy that I am really excited to bring back. I'm just out in the world, drinking coffee, and listening to old men complain about how cold it is in the Consol Energy Center, and writing. Oh writing! I have time to work on the craft that I am extremely passionate about! Blogging. Songwriting. The book that I've had bouncing around in my head. All are available.
And yet I recognize that the new normal is kind of a scary thing, and that I'm not alone in having to sort it out. Some of our dear readers are seminary students like me, or graduates from another school, and you will have to sort out a new normal. Some of you are looking for new jobs, and that requires a new normal. Some are watching their family expand, and that creates in and of itself a new normal. So while I find myself in the middle of the new normal with you, I invite you to do what I'm up to: breathe. Celebrate. Recognize the potential and the creative forces that awaken any time a new normal shows up on the scene. Celebrate the courage required to leave some old bad habits behind, and to dedicate yourself to some good ones. Don't disparage the old normal either, that doesn't help anyone. You are here because you went through there. Enjoy it.
And if you can, grab some coffee out in the world. It's beautiful out here!