Last week marked the “halfway point” in my time as Pastoral Intern here at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. As part of the Word & Sacrament Internship process required by the Seminary and the ELCA, I spent the better part of the weekend working on a “Midpoint Evaluation”, which consisted of numerous short answer essays that called me to reflect on the ways in which my pastoral competency has grown and to determine the “growing edges” where I want to focus additional effort and attention during the second half.
This was, in every sense of the word, a difficult task (and not just because the 20+ short essays took forever to complete!). It was difficult because it required me to think about myself using a highly critical lens. It was difficult because it required me to reflect on and write about my flaws and those areas where I know I still need to grow. It was difficult because I realized that my time in this wonderful place with all of you wonderful people is already halfway over. Where has the time gone?
The old saying has never felt truer: time flies when you’re having fun.
Now that my midpoint evaluation is complete and I have had the opportunity to reflect on it a bit more, I realized that there was an underlying theme, that all 4400+ words can pretty much be summed up in one sentence: I am so very happy to be here with you.
I love sitting in the Lighthouse and being able to see our church building out my windows, the silhouette of the cross against the colorful evening sky. I look forward to coming into the office in the morning, to being a part of a staff that genuinely cares about each other, to the conversation, smiles, and laughter that await us each day. I find deep joy in our communal life together: time spent with our Confirmation students each Wednesday, Adult Education conversations and Bible studies, uplifting worship and fellowship time each week – the list goes on and on.
Most of all, I am thankful. I am thankful for the many ways that you have supported me, encouraged me, guided me, prayed for me, and welcomed me. I cannot imagine a better place to learn and grow. Time is flying because I am, indeed, having fun.
It can be tempting to feel sad at junctures like this – noting milestones involving the passage of time has an annoying tendency to make the end seem closer rather than farther away. I’ve chosen instead to feel excited. I am excited for all that we have yet to experience, for the personal growth and development that is still to come, and for the ways in which the relationships that have been cultivated thus far will continue to grow and flourish. I am excited because I get to spend more time in a place that brings me great joy, a place that has so much more to teach me. Our work is far from over – it’s just getting started.
So, people of God at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, for all that has been and for all that is still to come: thank you.