I have lately become painfully aware of the transitions that occur in being in seminary. Whilst facilitating at the hermeneutics hui I had the chance to reengage with those from my Diocese. In some respects this was valuable yet it was also painful. Painful in regard to an awareness of the judgements externally of my seminary from those who have little or second hand knowledge of community life and the positive things which are happening. After a year and a half of intentional community building & the pursuit of theological excellence, to receive critical comments from people from home to both my fellow students and to myself, was painful and embarrassing.
There is of course always a cost in leaving the diocese to train at a seminary in transition when others are engaging in a different stream of theological education, however I was exceptionally proud of my fellow St Johns College students, in their leading of worship and pastoral care for those at the hui.
I am aware that there has been a transition in what it means to be a first year seminarian and a second year. Whilst this year I have really stepped up into leadership positions within college, here is also a a second guessing and self criticalness that has crept into my being, that was not so active before. A visit home in part highlights this with friends who have not seen me for some time more accurately able to see the change.
Lunch with a tutor however manages to bring some perspective as she is able to identify that what I am feeling (internally full of doubt, externally confident) is typical for second year students who are constantly under the eyes of Bishops, Deans, examiners, markers and indeed the self, as we strive to step into that new place of being.
It is easy through the day to forget the eyes that watch and yet there is an undercurrent you become aware of in every aspect of life being 'noticed'. It is within worship that I perhaps feel it the most as I become aware of the need to just stop and experience God.
These observations are not bad however, they just remind me of the need to:care for myself, spend more prayer time with God, perhaps make connections with people outside of seminary, get a new spiritual director.