Over the past week, several people have asked me what my plans are after graduation. I finish my apprenticeship in September and then seminary next June and people are curious. I usually answer “I honestly don’t know” because I honestly don’t know. I’m not very stressed about it though. A year ago, I never would have imagined that I would be right here where I am. Who knows where I will be in five years? One year?
Sunday morning, I had a conversation with a man at church. He’s older than me—his youngest graduated from high school this year—and he also asked me this question. When I told him that I didn’t know and often felt like I had no idea what the next thing was despite my frequent asking, he nodded. I blamed God’s hesitation of letting me in on the plan on the likelihood of my taking any plan and saying, “Thanks, God, I got it from here.” Part of that is likely true. But he pointed out that it also be chalked up to the uncertainty that we live in as humans. We just don’t know what will happen. That’s not how it works.
The older I get the more control I realize I don’t have. The control I once thought I had was an illusion. Instead, what I get is agency. The man I was talking to summed it up as trying to put oneself in the best position for whatever came next and immediately I agreed. That’s all I am doing. I am working toward excellence with my education. I don’t want a piece of paper; I want to have learned real and true things that matter in my actual life. I want to have been formed by the content and context of the four years that seminary will take me. I am developing skills and capacities at work, constantly learning new things and seeing new ways of being. I am aware of my personal formation and growth. I may not know what’s next but I do get to choose how I live in response to the day I am given.