Funny thing happened on the way to the bottom, though. I picked myself up, cried all my tears, and resolved that I wasn't going to let this setback keep me down. I discovered that San Francisco Theological Seminary had a much later deadline than all the other schools and so I applied on a whim not really knowing anything about the school except that it was in California, a state that I have a long history with. I decided that the third time would either be the charm or the clear sign that I needed that seminary wasn't the right thing for me at this time. I told myself that no matter what, I wasn't going to allow myself to get beat up over the outcome.
To my shock, I actually somehow got into the school. I was completely floored and ecstatic but also very grateful to God for providing this opportunity for me. However, I knew that that wasn't the end of the story. I knew that in order for it to work out, I had to get a sense of the school and whether it was the right place for me. So, this week, I flew out there to visit the campus and see if I could genuinely see myself there. I knew that I needed to get a feel for the school and see if there was a place for me before I could officially commit to going. Literally, less than five minutes after setting foot on the campus, I knew that this was where God wanted me to be. The campus is absolutely gorgeous and is located in the small town of San Anselmo which is 30 minutes from Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco so prime location. It is a fairly small student population but I really got the sense that the students and professors all know each other and there seems to be a really strong sense of community there. The students that I met all seemed really enthusiastic about meeting me and genuinely seemed interested in my discernment process. The faculty and staff as well expressed genuine enthusiasm and excitement upon meeting me and it felt good to be wanted. I really felt special during my visit as I was treated like a very important person and had all of my questions answered in a very gracious and kindly manner. The theology class I sat in on was absolutely fascinating and the discussion had me riveted.
There are so many reasons why I feel God calling me to school there. There's a reason why I didn't get into the other schools. San Francisco Theological Seminary is where I am supposed to be and where I am supposed to deepen my theological education. As to that major life decision, well if you haven't guessed it by now it is this: I officially committed to attend there starting this fall. Yeah, that might be anti-climactic but that's it. I've made peace with the decision and am trusting that I have made the right decision. I have a lot of family in the area so it will be nice to get to see them more. That's one thing that has been hard about being up here in Chicago is the fact that I have no friends or family up here so can sometimes feel pretty lonely. Granted, I have made friends since I have been up here but it still would be nice to on occasion visit with somebody who's known me longer than a few months. It's a different kind of relationship in that case. Now, by moving to California, I get to have that kind of relationship again. My aunt and uncle are two hours away which is close enough that I can go see them occasionally but still far enough away that I feel like I can have my own space. The school offers me so many opportunities that I wouldn't necessarily get anywhere else. I feel this is the right decision for me at this time in my life. Did I mention that there is a bar, a good mexican restaurant and a frozen yogurt place all within walking distance?? If that's not a sign that I am supposed to go there, I don't know what is!! I will be able to get around without a car which is one of the best parts as I literally haven't missed driving at all.
Now that I have made my decision, I am trusting that the Holy Spirit will provide for me. Going there is not the cheapest option so I am hoping that scholarships and such will work out in my favor. I am hoping to avoid loans as I have more than enough of those from undergrad and really would prefer to not pile on more since who knows what the job market will look like when I get done in three(+) years!! I am just so grateful that I have been given the opportunity to study there and I intend not to squander it. I hope it all works out for me and that I am able to thrive there. That is my biggest fear: that I will fail out or not succeed at it. I would hate to disappoint God and other people who are all going to be putting their hopes in me to do well and come out of seminary. I've always wanted to live on the West Coast and so perhaps this is God's way of getting me there!! All I know is that God gave me a happy ending to my story which proves beyond any doubt that he is a good and loving God. Thanks be to God! Hallelujah!!