It’s a curious business, this following a vocation lark. Hearing the call at all was pretty weird, and I spent a couple of years articulating it in terms of “not”. The first sentence I ever uttered on the subject was “I don’t want to be a vicar, that would be silly, obviously.” I still remember the slight sense of shock as I said it, that it might not be silly, that there was no reason why not….
Except of course there were lots of why nots… which might be why it took me many months to talk to my vicar. He didn’t laugh, and promptly got a new job, leaving behind a letter of recommendation to the incoming Diocesan Director of Ordinands…who hadn’t arrived yet. That was just the first of many stops and starts in the discernment process…even the Diocesan Bishop left during the three years it took me to make it to a Bishop’s Advisory Panel (BAP, the selection panel for trainee vicars. Like graduate recruitment, with added prayers). But the delays weren’t all about discerning and listening. Some of them were about finding my frailties, and discovering which ones I needed to stay aware of and nurse, and which ones required attention and soothing. That time before BAP was both painful and healing, and some of that work continues today. At the time, the delay felt difficult and pointless. Now, it seems vital. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
After BAP….a helter skelter visit to the Diocesan Director of Ordinands, who sent me straight round to the local theological college – local to her office at least. One chat later, and there it was. A training place the following September, part time to minimise family disruption…and the rest of the tale is for another time.