My Inner Conan

Do you remember this:

It was the big pop news story of November 2010. Jay Leno wanted the Tonight Show back. Conan O’Brien had been doing the show for months. Despite some creative internet rallying behind Conan (see above) Leno won and Conan had to leave his job of a lifetime hosting the Tonight Show. His final monologue on that show was easily the most gracious words spoken at that hour on national television.

You can read the entire speech here, but the part that sticks out the most, at the very end is this:

“All I ask of you is one thing: please don’t be cynical. I hate cynicism — it’s my least favorite quality and it doesn’t lead anywhere.

Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”

Last May I met with my Commission on Ministry for the first time, hoping earnestly for a swift green light for seminary. I had so much ministry experience already. I had an eloquent and entertaining spiritual autobiography written. I even had this darling dress from the J.Crew suiting that in a very feminine way said, “I mean business.”

Yet I left that meeting feeling like I’d been kicked in the stomach. “Do an internship. 6 months. We’ll meet you again after.”

Downtrodden as I felt, I chose not to grow bitter. I would do this internship. (I did.) I would invest my heart in this new church, even though I knew that would require crying through goodbyes. (It did.) And I would avoid comparing myself to others in the process who seemed like they had it easier. Even if they did, some also had it harder, and so what — it’s not a race to ordination.

Thus I chose not to grow bitter. My head had to tell my heart what do do, which hard for me because it usually works the other way around.

And here I sit, less than 72 hours from meeting the Commission again. But there’s something I can’t seem to shake. My blood pressure starts to raise when I think about difference between what I wanted to happen, what I thought God intended to happen, and what actually happened over these past 9 months.

“Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get.” Oh, Conan, you prophet-of-new!

So I’ll go to this meeting again, wearing an awesome outfit (think Kate Middleton at a business meeting), and ready to open up. And for good measure, I’ll try to channel my inner Conan. Graciously assertive. There’s the Commission on Ministry and there’s God, and there’s probably more overlap than I’d like to admit.

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6 thoughts on “My Inner Conan

  1. This post was just what I needed to read. As I sit down to pen my first Ember Day letter, I recognize many of these same feelings flying around within myself. You said it perfectly here: “My blood pressure starts to raise when I think about difference between what I wanted to happen, what I thought God intended to happen, and what actually happened over these past 9 months.” Truth. (And something I need to remember as I head into the next few months.)

  2. I mean this respectfully, but the CoM is far from God. There are people who should be ordained that never get ordained, and there are people who shouldn’t be ordained who are ordained.

    • Of course some COM’s fumble sometimes, but I think it’s cynical to therefore separate the COM and God. They’re imperfect and trying to discern God’s perfect will, but that’s how you could describe the entire church. Plus our personal perspective on who should and shouldn’t be ordained is always limited and we shouldn’t put ourselves in the role of God.

  3. Hey Courtney! I never had the chance to tell you (and I know this is late), but I think congratulations are in order for becoming a postulate. “Congratulations”! If I remember right, Father John related that the decision was unanimous, so I think that means either, one, every member of the CofM had a grave inability to discern God’s will (in which case we’re all in trouble) or, two, you are called to be a priest. I’m gonna go with the second option here. Have fun in Virigina!

    And as an aside, there is a part of me that’s glad you had to “do” the internship. Otherwise we would never have met. :)

    Peace,
    Caleb (Kalev)

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