This year I decided to kick-start the holiday with a FRIENDS mini-marathon of each season’s Thanksgiving episodes. I have not been able to put my finger on it, but there is certainly a quality or characteristic of the sitcom that is therapeutic for me. I find comfort, relief, and familiarity with each episode I watch. It almost replicates, but does not come close to replacing, the emotions I feel when I am with my extended family for the holidays.
Thanksgiving has been bittersweet, though, as it is the first major holiday without my grandfather. While it has been nearly five months since he passed away, there is still an air of freshness looming. As I sit and write this in his study, I reflect on a life well lived – a loving husband and father, a war hero, and man of integrity who had a deep faith in Jesus. These last five months have had their struggles, especially as it relates to my grandmother. She is finding her way into early stages of dementia. She has become irritable, frustrated, and increasingly emotional. But despite the mountains and valleys, there is still so much I have to be thankful for.
Though Thanksgiving feels a bit different this year, there are some things that never change…mainly the presumptuous questions about school, work, and relationships. My favorite inquires tend to be regarding the latter. I have not had a serious relationship in a few years and I am always left feeling a bit inadequate or lacking. While I am perfectly content with my relationship status, which is non-existent at this stage in life, the questions and disdain can be unpleasant to manage. I guess it is hard to stay camouflaged as a single within a large family where nearly everyone is in a serious relationship. Sometimes it makes me feel a little lonely since I do not have that attribute to relate.
The questions about work and school are a little easier to swallow. Though I remain in higher education, I have launched a real estate investment company, named the Grand Rapids Group. We have purchased a number of properties and have seen incredible return on investment. I formerly owned a corporate video production company, Oswald Productions, but have sold it in order to launch this new venture.
While I am realizing success, at twenty-six, my next step in life remains ambiguous. I love higher education. But even as I love certain aspects of my career, it seems there is little left to intellectually challenge me. Not only that, but there is no room for promotion and I am already at the highest pay grade. This leaves me caught between either looking for a new position or taking advantage of this time in life and continuing my education further.
Since high school I have toyed with the notion of being called to ministry. But I have always been tempted to follow my selfish will, reasoning away God’s voice, ignoring it, or second-guessing myself as to whether he was actually talking to me at all. No matter what I have done to suppress this inkling, it always remains steadfast in the back of my mind.
As a result, these last few weeks I have been really seeking God and asking him to open doors if I am to find my way into ministry. Likely this will include seminary, or at least a theological degree of some sort. And in all honesty, I am leaning toward the practicality and preparation of a Master’s of Divinity degree. Schools I am considering include Wheaton, Princeton, Duke, Gordon, Asbury, and Fuller. These schools run the gamut, but so do the degree offerings.
Well this post is far from a complete thought, but it is all my mind is spitting out at the moment. Over the next few days I will attempt to gather my thoughts and express degree goals, as well as ministry opportunities I see myself heading toward.
So for now, I guess the journey continues.