Saturday, September 2, 2017

Crossroads by John Chatburn

When you stand at a crossroads in life, knowing that a step in any direction will lead down paths not previously travel, it can be scary.  Two years ago I found myself at such a crossroads.  I made the decision to ask for a leave of absence from church employment and go back to school to study urban planning. It wasn’t a decision that I came to quickly, but one that I discerned over a number of months.
            It was terrifying because all I had ever really wanted to do was to work for the church.  Going back to school was the first step in a journey that led me down a path that led away from my life long desire to work for the church.  It may seem weird that I wanted to step away from the thing that I had desired most of my life.  Life decisions aren’t always rational, because they are made with the heart and the head, but I knew that even if I stayed in my role with the church, life would not be the same. 
            The past two years I have met people that have made my life fuller, richer, and better.  I can’t imagine life without them just as I can’t imagine life without the people whom I am so richly blessed because of my connection in the church.  The God that traveled with me as I traveled across large chunks of the Western United States for the church also traveled with me into graduate school and into a new profession. 
We are each in charge of our own happiness.  There are a lot of voices in our world that attempt to articulate what will make us happy.  I think that is really only a question that can be answered when you examine your life and figure out what points towards more joy, more love, not just for you, but for your community as well. 
I found happiness working for a group that develops affordable housing for vulnerable populations across the state of Washington.  That doesn’t mean that each day I leave work with a smile on my face, but I do know the work that I do points towards a better world and brings me fulfillment.  It is also work that is consistent with my priesthood calling to the office of Bishop to be a minister of economic justice for the marginalized in our communities. 
            There are no easy answers when you find yourself at a crossroads.  Sometimes when we want so desperately for God to tell us which way to go it can seem like God is silent.  Perhaps God is waiting for us to take a step so God can walk with us.

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