Come with me?

Come with me for the journey is long
Come with me for the journey is long
Come with me for the journey is long
Come with me for the journey is long

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Roughly a year ago I sat in Miller Chapel along with about 125 other confused and overwhelmed Princeton Seminary first year students. At that time, I didn’t know it was tradition for the incoming class to sing this song in a beautiful round with four part harmony during opening orientation worship. So I simply joined along, having no clue what those words would mean to me in the following months. Somehow yesterday I found myself on the other side of this experience. I was in the front helping to lead this year’s new class as the words spilled out of their mouths even though they, too, have no idea how much they will lean on these very same words in the coming months.

Instinctively, you can know why those words are so important. For any journey in life, it is probably long. And it is almost always better with other people. As I stood there yesterday with my eyes welling up with tears of gratitude and heartwarming reflection, I realized my role in this new academic year is drastically different. I am still on this long journey and I most definitely still need people to help me and keep me company along the way. But, I am no longer in the deconstructive phase of my seminary career. That has certainly been done already. And now, in year 2 of 3, is when I start to build. My charge this year is to dream and listen and establish more of who I am as a theologian, a pastor, a friend, a partner, and a contributing member of society. The second piece of that charge is to then do it. It is a serious and compelling task, but also one of the most glorious and most exciting ones I know to exist.

And the final piece of that charge, which hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday, is that I stand with those God put with me. New students, congregants, old friends, colleagues, family, it doesn’t matter. We all need somebody and I have now had the time and just enough training (though never enough training) to be that somebody you can trust and lean on and fall into and whatever else you may need.

So as I stood there yesterday, I prayed that I could be a part of someone else’s journey. I prayed I would be a helpful and calming and friendly presence in my community because we are all on a crazy journey that is long and challenging and prone to be lonely. I did not have to do it alone, by God’s design and God’s grace. So I open the invitation: come with me. You don’t have to have the answers, know the questions, contain the energy, or even understand where the heck you are right now. And you certainly don’t have to be alone. We can do our best to figure it all out together. Come with me?

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