This week I took two really important steps toward living into my true vocation, speaking words that have been whispered in my heart and to a select few people and bringing them into the light.
I talked for about an hour and a half with Rev. Mary Kay, the rector of the Episcopal church I started going to shortly before the pandemic, about paths toward ordination. I.e. vocational deacon (what Catholics call permanent deacon) versus priest, what are the roles, the study programs, the cost and compensation, whether I can get started without quitting my day job yet, etc. It sounds like the Diocese would frown upon going through the vocational diaconate program if I knew I ultimately planned to be a priest. And I think I really do want to be a priest, so that I would have discretion over what parish I serve and how I do that, among other things. The Bishops assign where deacons go in the Episcopal Church. So the idea of “getting my feet wet” with the diaconate until my kids are older probably isn’t a good fit for me. I think I need to jump in with two feet, either sooner or later.
I also came out with a Facebook post about how I’ve finally realized (at age 43) that I’m androgyne and asexual, after a lifetime of being misled into relationship misery by false promises about “Christian marriage” and narrow-minded messages about the significance of having female genitalia. I told my husband about this in counseling a few months ago, but he’s remained in denial that it matters, not talking about it further with me. So when I shared with all my Facebook friends, I didn’t tell him ahead of time, and he’s definitely upset about it, but still won’t talk about it. Maybe this is going to accelerate the end of the marriage, which I’ve been wanting for years, but not so much that it’s worth the hassle and expense of divorcing with school aged children. But probably he’s withdrawn into silent treatment for days at a time several times before, only to emerge to try harder to make a go of things.
So I guess the question I need to pray on is whether I carefully wait several years for my kids to be older before I shift my vocation from marriage to ordination, or whether I courageously take more steps toward my true calling much sooner. The “God will provide” line and me do NOT have a good track record together. There WILL be a cost to courage. Am I willing to pay it? What if my kids end up paying for part of it (and they probably would)? Is “courage” really selfishness then? Or is caution?
I appreciate the prayers and thoughts of all of you fellow-travelers here as I grapple with these questions.