Let me tell you about an awesome time of life for me.
We were living in St. Louis. The ink hadn't dried yet on my M.Div. We were living in an apartment with big windows that let in an overabundance of natural light. Our complex was filled with college students and young professionals. We lived across the parking lot from the pool and the weight room. We had On Demand movie channels. We had one cat, and she and I would sit out on our balcony and read together.
I worked a few hours a week at my seminary alma mater's library while leafing through a half-dozen or so church profiles. Mrs. Jeff was the big breadwinner at the time. I had a lot of time to myself to look these profiles over, my head swimming with possibility. I still have the overstuffed manilla folder from that search and look upon that time of wide-eyed anticipation and anxiety. A few classmates and fellow graduates were still hanging around town, and we'd grab coffee and tell each other how our searches were going. For a little bit, I was That Guy who graduated but still hung around his old school because he didn't have anything better to do.
That was an awesome time because didn't have much responsibility at all, unless you count "find a full-time job." You probably could. But for six months or so, the three of us hung out at our apartment, caught up with others in the same process as me, basked in the natural light provided by our windows, and generally enjoyed our status as adopted St. Louisians with one eye on the future.
That was an awesome time because I could come and go as I pleased. I'd wander over to the weight room when I felt like it, then traveled down to the Kroger equivalent to pick up a salad and chicken wings for dinner. I'd cruise University City and buy stuff from Vintage Vinyl with money that we didn't really have. Oops.
That was an awesome time because I'd keep up with my fellow travelers as slowly but surely each of us were snatched up by churches, hospitals, nursing homes or whatever else and the stories started to come about our first days, weeks, and months and be caught up in each others' giddiness about the whole thing.
That was an awesome time. A care-free, independent existence of a time where I bathed in so much refreshing potential and where dreams allowed me almost to levitate from one place to another.
Of course, we're about 500 miles and 3 years removed from that apartment.
We have two more cats.
I'm in a particular church of cement, wood and aluminum siding rather than the hazy abstraction of those months.
More and more, my colleagues and I share stories and advice, but less as bright-eyed novices and more as experienced professionals.
I don't come and go as I please as often now. Come late April, I'll do it even less.
That was an awesome time.
But so is this. The reasons have just changed a little.