I had a framed degree hanging on my wall. Masters of Divinity.
It’s lying on a closet shelf now.
I make the same awful joke over and over about being a master of the divine. It covers my awkward pain over the irrelevancy of that period. I received this piece of paper five years ago. It represents three years of intense work, practice, and, ultimately, a dead part of my life.
I was going to be a pastor. I had dreams of delivering messages from this strange thing called a pulpit: hopes of meeting with people in their storms and their calm.
Today, I spend most of my time in an app called Sketch, with a pen and moleskin to the left of my laptop. I design, write a little hacked code, and solve problems. I love to create.
But, I am most definitely not a pastor. Writing that still hurts a little (at times, it hurts a lot). I had this dream, which was destroyed by spousal abuse, divorce, and my loss of self.
A few years ago, I got a job with Apple. It was so vital for my recovery, but anytime someone asked what I did, I responded with, “I’m a pastor, but I work for Apple right now.” I acted like this path was a minor deviation and one that I would quickly fix.
That fix never came.
I am not a pastor.
I applied to 20+ churches, all resounding “no’s.” A few flat out told me they wanted a “married pastor.” The church I attend is fantastic, and I am so grateful for it. I had this plan that I would get a job with them. That never happened. One day they announced a new teaching pastor. I left the service early and wept outside the church. Not because this new pastor didn’t deserve it (he did), but because I wasn’t even an option.
Through my experience these past eight years, I have learned that death isn’t just a cessation of brain waves, heartbeats, and cell reproduction.
The death of spirit, the death of dreams, are just as real.
Thankfully, death doesn’t have the last word. I still believe that all things will be made new. I’m a living example of that newness.
A fantastic new career in design, which I love. A new body, far removed from the abuse and self-medicating through eating. A new life. I am married the most amazing woman. I have amazing friends and an ever-expanding group of new friends.
I still love people, maybe more so after these past few years. I could never stop caring for others or choke my desire to see others thrive. I know my identity is built on this, but I also want to mourn the loss of a dream.
This isn’t to humblebrag.
This isn’t some b.s. platitude, “when one door closes, another opens.”
I’m am writing this to share part of my story in the hope that others know they aren’t alone in their storms.
I am writing to share that death, in whatever form, doesn’t have the last word.