I think I’ve let everyone know at this point; but for those that I haven’t – here’s the update.
After a lot of discernment work with my spiritual director and formation director, I have decided to take some time off from seminary. This was a decision reached after a full year of discernment and hours of daily reflection. Both my spiritual and vocation directors have supported this decision and think that I’m doing the right thing. The reasons for my departure/hiatus boils down to some concerns that I have about my readiness and calling to the priesthood. I went to the seminary knowing that there were things I needed to answer before I would be ready. With God’s grace palpably present in my life, I have made unbelievable growth and progress in spiritual and emotional maturity. Yet I find that there are still a few big concerns that I have about my direction and growth that tell me I need to resolve them before I could honestly continue.
It was something I talked long and hard about – with my directors and with God. My struggle comes from knowing that complete freedom and complete honesty are required in giving oneself in a vocation like marriage or the priesthood – and I was still lacking in some of that freedom. I take my leave in good standings with my diocese and would be able to return without difficulty in the future if it becomes clear I should do so.
At the moment, I took a contracting position with my old employer – Intel – to allow me the freedom to do my discernment. I’ve currently got a place in NW Portland that I’ll be moving into this week.
I know this may be a shock for some of you – but I can assure you this letter finds me in a very happy place emotionally/spiritually, and continuing my growth in God as much as it ever has. Doors have opened for this work to happen, and I feel that this is where/what God wants for me to be doing. My spiritual director said something very wise to me after we had read the signs and I decided to take the leave. He said, “Put a bookmark in this chapter of your life. Put it on the shelf and work on your growth and maturity in Christ. If it is supposed to open again – it will.” I put the bookmark in and put it back on the shelf. Now I continue my growth and prayer to let time and grace do the rest…