Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3...
by Caitlin Coleman
Last May, Caitlin Coleman went on pilgrimage to Iona, Scotland with a group led by Larry Duggins. In her blog, cait'scomments, Caitlin shares her thoughts and the path she has chosen since some deep reflection began in Iona.
I haven’t written in a while. A long while. Since June of last year, to be specific. And today, not only was I questioned why I hadn’t written, but I was reminded that it was indeed a very good time to share some of the overwhelming thoughts, experiences, realizations, and epiphanies that have accumulated in my mind over the past 8 months.
I graduated from college in May, after a 21-hour semester. While I was both overjoyed & relieved to hold that beautiful diploma in my hands, I was also uncertain. Uncomfortable. Maybe even afraid. I was getting ready to depart out of the country (for the first time ever) to the most beautiful place that I have ever had the privilege of visiting: Iona, Scotland. I had plans to attend seminary afterwards, and potentially become a hospital chaplain. I was dating someone at the time, pretty certain that things were going well & I had found something that would last, the type of relationship and feelings that I hadn’t experienced in a long, long while. I was going to move into an apartment, and live on my own, for the first time EVER. There was a lot going on in my life at the time, and as I look back now, I realize that I was overwhelmed with all of the ideas and unknowns of the upcoming future. But plans had been made, I had set my path, I was ready to pursue.
And so there I went, off to Scotland on a 10-day adventure with nobody that I knew, to a place I’d never been, to partake in a somewhat uncertain schedule of events. We spent hours of time in fellowship, worship, and relaxation. It was the most beautiful time that I could’ve dreamed, wished, or hoped for after a season of busy-ness, full-to-the-brim schedules, & completions of to-do lists.
After I arrived home, and that uncomfortable feeling of doubt began to set in, I realized that I had much work to do, both spiritually and vocationally. As I left Scotland feeling unsure of the specific career path I felt called to pursue, I couldn’t shake the feeling of insecurity regarding where I would end up vocationally. I wasn’t sure that I should attend seminary, because I had an overwhelming feeling that God had planted in me both a desire and a responsibility to work with children directly–after all, I have always loved to babysit, make children feel loved and admired, and connect with those who are experiencing trouble or difficulties.
And so, after prayer, speaking with pastoral mentors, and much, much reflection, I decided not to attend seminary. I decided to pursue a different path. What path? I wasn’t sure.
The stress, the uncertainty, and the worry didn’t come quickly, but in fact, crept up quite slowly. The dating relationship that I thought was secure had ended. I had no specific “plan”. I was unsure (am still unsure) of the direction that I should take vocationally. Over little bits of time, I found myself constantly comparing myself to my friends, who had jobs, or internships, or some pretty clear perception of where they were headed in life. A direction. A source of income. A plan. I began to doubt myself: had I made the right decision? Did I follow my own desires instead of what God has (or had) for me? Did I fall for the lie that I knew better than He did?