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Going Back to School (3 Years in 1 Post)

This happened last night:

Three years ago, I wrote a big life update on leaving my job & life in Vancouver.
Here is what’s happened since:

May 2010 – I move to Ontario. I don’t have a job or job plan. I know this next phase of my life is about building my identity as me and taking artistic risks. Other than that, I don’t really know what I’m doing.

August 2010 – After applying for over 50 office jobs, I decide to work as a nanny for a year. I take a job caring for two boys, C & G, for 50 hours a week (!).

January 2011 – I throw myself a birthday party that is also an art show. Over 75 people come out to “26 Secrets,” and the café asks me to leave my poetry & photography on the walls for an extra week. This project is the most terrifying and affirming undertaking of my life. I begin volunteering with the Philip Aziz Centre.

July 2011 – As I wrap up my nannying job, there is the possibility of working for the mom’s business in the fall. This feels as good a next step as any.

August 2011 – I spend three weeks on the Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrimage route in Spain. Kirsten and I laugh much and occasionally cry. The trip is incredible. An experience even more profound in hindsight. (many more thoughts here. Maybe some more posts will come.)

September 2011 – Working part-time in the office and freelancing part-time, I wonder how the next few months will play out.

December 2011 – For purely financial reasons, I go full-time in this little office. I know that this is not a long term solution for the restlessness I’m feeling.

January 2012 – I start an evening memoir-writing class. I form a small arts collective with two friends, and we sell creative goods at the Arts Market (it lasts until June). I give myself a soft deadline of April and a hard deadline of August for finding a new job.

April 2012 – Things come to a head internally. I fight waves of panic and anxiety on a near-daily basis. I am overwhelmed by not knowing what I want, and the awareness that I feel confused and uncertain about what it even means to hear from Jesus.

May 2012 – I start to meet with a spiritual director (definitely more posts to come on this).

July 2012 – Visiting friends in Uganda moves my heart. I apply for a few jobs, but only the ones I desperately want, mostly in the non-profit/international development sector.

September 2012 – August has come and gone and I am still in my job. My boss finds out I’m job hunting. I panic. We have a two-part conversation that resolves better than it began. I tell her I will definitely be done here in the spring. I write out a list of the 5 things I value most & want to shape my life around. I am asked to help shoot a wedding, photography-wise.

December 2012 – Still no job or career clarity, but I feel a sense of self and peace that I have not known maybe ever before. I am admitting and embracing the internal shifts in my faith, and I am no longer scared of my own feelings. I tell someone I want to go back to school, but there’s no way I could afford it. I do photography at another wedding.

January 2013 – I decide to apply for grad school. Specifically, seminary. The tentative plan/longterm hope is to head into chaplaincy – a career that pulls at me, that draws on my earlier ministry jobs, my hospice volunteer experiences, my growing love of contemplation & space.

April 2013 – My application is in, my references are done. I interview. I am accepted for the Masters of Divinity program at Wycliffe College. My last day of work in this office is April 26th. I'm doing photography at a third wedding this month. I own two film SLR cameras, and I am in love with them.

So here I am. I am taking May off, moving (within Toronto), visiting Minneapolis (the delightful Wendy), and hanging out with my family (kisses for all the kidlets). I need some sort of work for the summer, so I can pay my bills. I need some sort of plan for the fall, so I can pay my bills.

I'm so excited to have something to move towards. Something that will challenge and (hopefully) encourage me. I have wanted to go back to school since I finished my BA, since I felt like Jesus told me, "Not yet." 

I have no idea how things will turn out. I never do. I did not think this "transition" from campus ministry would last three years. But it has.

There are so many more thoughts and related stories. Hopefully I will get to some of them. I might start a thread of posts as I go through my MDiv. I will probably call it "She Does Seminary." 


Tina Moore said…
Yay! Congrats, I will be praying for you! I also want to hear all about it once you start! :)
jamieunited said…
What type of Chaplaincy are you thinking of? I only know Campus (University) Chaplains, Sports Teams Chaplains, Prison Chaplains.
Jess Versteeg said…
I love all of this.
Beth said…
Thanks, Tina! We should talk school/career plans sometime soon :)

Jamie - I'm not entirely sure... I'm hoping to get experience/exposure to a few different areas. There are also hospital chaplains, military chaplains, airport chaplains, and some companies have them as well.
Beth said…
Thanks, Jess!
The Tricketts said…
Beth, great stuff. My Dad is a hospital and airport chaplain. He used to be a prison chaplain as well. If you fly to Vancouver at any time soon, you should grab a lunch with him.
Beth said…
Tricketts! (Brent!) Thanks - I will definitely keep that in mind. I'm hoping to go sometime before this year is out... I'll be in touch :)
Unknown said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
Wooo! Exciting news! Congrats Beth =]
I still dig your writing!

- random (UK) projecteer from years past
Beth said…
Thanks, random UK projecteer! I'm so curious about who you are...and happy to have you still around :)
Tim chan said…
I appreciated reading this Beth - glad to have stumbled upon your blog today.

Olive sees a spiritual director (and hopes to be one someday) and finds it very life-giving. Both her and I are looking forward to reading your posts about meeting with your spiritual director.
Steph W said…
Beth, this is cool. I appreciate the intentionality you have in your life, even through times of uncertainty. It's so good to grow in understanding yourself, in self-awareness (giftings, personality, etc) so that we can more fully live in God's purposes for us.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Eph 2:10
Jenn said…
Woohoo, congrats on this new adventure!
Beth said…
Tim, thanks! I'll be sure to send the link to those posts your way. I'm also interested in spiritual formation/direction as (part of?) my career. We shall see!

Steph - thank you. Absolutely, yes. This becoming more sure of myself is definitely leading to more fully living.

Jenn - merci!!
Katie V. said…
Congrats Beth :) This seems like a great fit for you. I was a little disappointed that it was a seminary out here in Edmonton but I'll get over it ;)
Silas said…
this looks like a great move.

for what it's worth: I don't think it would be unreasonable for people to take almost 3 years to adjust fully from working in campus ministry. for some people i've talked to, it's almost like walking away from their faith (although it actually isn't!). it seems like an organization that breeds such a high level of commitment can sometimes result in people who might feel disconcerted when deciding to commit to anything else.

by the way, i think it's so awesome you own 2 film slr's :) there's no comparison :)
Beth said…
Katie V - you're the best! maybe I can do a placement out west and live with you one summer?? (can't wait to catch up soon!)

Silas - absolutely, the transition has felt disconcerting at times. and, ohmyword I'm a little bit in LOVE with film.

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