I was called gently to step into seminary; from that, I stepped out of a community and life that I was yearning to – but could not quite – call home. In both my workplace and faith community, I encountered people who were attending or had completed the training at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary. I made an inquiry, attended an open house, did all the things a reasonable person might do. But saying yes to this training opened doors that I couldn’t, at the time, see were in my path. Over the next two years, I would learn to redefine everything, including the nature of home itself.
I had rational expectations about what I might experience. The first year focused on learning about global faith traditions, ministerial psychology, working on our own “stuff,” and some of the more subtle practices around ministry. The second year focused on ritual and service, with opportunities to be both in class and in the outside world. I thought it would be simple and give me just enough time to pick and choose how I wanted my ministry to look and feel, so that I could wrap up my “other” life and get on with this new one. Two months in, the spiritual foundation of that “other” life crumbled, and I clung tightly to what my Dean describes as a “beautifully stubborn heart.”
My reality was quite different from those expectations. I quickly learned the depth of what the Prophet Muhammad (saw) meant when he said, “There are as many paths to God as there are human breaths.” Through great struggle, I learned that I was not in control – ever. I learned, too, that I know relatively little about my inner self, and that this is part of my work. From those, I discovered a capacity to witness the sacred in every moment and being. I came to reimagine what a life of service is, through being present, and what home might be.
My ministry means meeting people where they are, and being with them in that same space. I am being called to explore what it means for interfaith and interspiritual ministers to do that “meeting;” I am more interested in the unexplored, shadow places, the real life sides, as opposed to those comfortable spaces like weddings and worship. At the same time, I have been invited to explore and confront those inner places that I have long ignored through partnership and family. Through the knowing and listening of my stubborn heart, I am starting to understand the true nature of my home.
Home is where I can serve, in work and in the daily rituals of family and home life. Home is where I can be with and in community, without having to define it. Home allows me to explore what Spirit calls me to do, and yet remember that I am not in control. Home is where I can celebrate Spirit in everyone, in the every day.