I just got off the phone with one of my dear friends from seminary who is struggling with where God might be calling her after graduation in May. I think she's pretty clear about it actually (if I don't say so myself) but she's just as overwhelmed as I am by the fear that we might be lonely. And I think that most pastors struggle with this. It doesn't matter if you are single or not. It doesn't matter if you have a brood of kids or not. Being a pastor can be totally lonely. Though I would really take the brood of kids and partner any day, I am struggling with this state of loneliness that my friend dreads.
So, in the first three weeks of my ministry, I will tell you about the community I have found in a place where I didn't know a soul.
I found a group of loving and supporting pastor-types that are eager and ready to welcome me into terror mentoring group. Though I have not yet met with this group, I have already felt their love. I have felt a similar sort of support from the 20s-30s group in my state (mind you, there are seven of us in the entire state).
And I found what every pastor wants, a good friend that will take you out to laugh about how silly life is. You will crash a wedding, talk to parishioners that you will later officiate for over their wedding and enjoy one too many cocktails at a gay bar. (Yes, the photo is actually at the wedding after we crooned around the piano in the hotel lobby.)
But, my friend is right. You can never stop being a pastor. This is the truth I realized when I was explaining the Biblical foundations of the condemnation of homosexuality and why I don't believe that over my drink last night. I was just trying to make some new friends. I wandered out by myself to try to find some fun young people in this city. But, no, I was just a pastor to them. Nothing more. But, we all find that select few that we can be just who we really are with. No pastor. Just me. It's a rare find. But, they are out there. I have every faith.