If you’ve been on Facebook, you might know that there’s a feature that suggest friends to you. It’s called “People You May Know”. As you scroll through it, Facebook connects you with other people you’ve not “friended” but might want to “friend” based on mutual friends. Every so often, I browse through some of these profiles of people I may know, and, invariably, I look at the friends we have in common. Sometimes I’m surprised by who I find there. An aunt, friends with a friend from college or an old coworker, friends with someone I knew in seminary, and I ask myself, “How do they know each other”.
This of course is because our lives are segmented into a variety of “worlds”. We all have entire lives lived among different people who will never know of our other lives lived among other people. Family life, school life, work life, and so on. But every so often our worlds collide, and it’s disorienting because we are used to categorizing our lives in ways that make easier for us to be who we are in those specific places. It is actually a kind of self-centered way of looking at the world because it means that we understand our relationship with other as being about us. So, when we see relationships that form across the boundaries of our worlds, we are surprised to know that other people have worlds too. And they have relationship independent of our own categories.
I had this same disorienting feeling at my ordination ceremony last month when I looked out on all the different people who’d come to support me. I saw family members sitting next to members of Sojourn or Atlas, an earlier church I’d been a part of. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight of my friend Colin, my grandma, and another pastor organizing hymnals after the service.
What’s amazing to me about this is that despite my various worlds, the way I’ve segmented my life, throughout it all, I’ve been supported be too many people to count in ways too many to count. So little of what I’ve done can be attributed solely to my own merit, as much as I’d like to believe the opposite. Most of the journey that’s led me to this place had been done with the help of my communities. And, in large part, I hope my ordination was way of saying, “Thank you”. Thank you to the Conference Minister Team, to the Ministerial Council, to MSMC and MCUSA. Thank you to my friends and family. My former and current colleagues. Because although my world collided on that night, January 13th, 2019, those worlds will forever collide in my ministry. Without them, the support and love they’ve provided me over the years, none of it would be possible.