Anyhoo, back to subject in hand 'Why I want* to be a Vicar'. I use an * here because 'want' has always struck me as a weird term to use when talking about this subject. When I first got through the selection process for ordination training people would often say 'So you want to be a Vicar?' and I would say 'No! Well, yes, I suppose. Gah! I don't know!'. There were a few quizzical brows! But the thing is, does anybody really want to be a Vicar? It's a massive responsibility to which you commit your whole life and that, if you have any sense, you feel completely inadequate for. To say it is something I 'want' to do just doesn't ring true to my ears even now.
No, rather than 'want', its almost a 'must' and there a few reasons for this. Firstly because of that pesky, every disruptive force, the notorious G.O.D. I didn't plan this or decide it would be a clever way to spend my late twenties. Rather it was something that burst suddenly into my life one day and just wouldn't go away. I first felt that this Vicar-ing lark might be for me when I got married. The only way I can describe it is that I felt a deep sense of recognition as I sat opposite the Vicar who would be marrying us. There was something in her that rang out like a bell to me. I knew that one day, I would be there. It would be me.
Being a (vaguely) sensible sort however I figured this strange idea, should it ever come to fruition, would do so sometime in the very, very distant future. I mean, who has ever heard of a twenty something Vicar? I had no mental image for that so I just carried on with life, wondering about it periodically but no more than that. It was simply an impossibility to me until I was much older, much wiser and perhaps had a rocking chair that I would rock back and forth knowingly in.
Until, that is, one evening on my way to church where, amid the turmoil of yet another disappointing job, I foolishly prayed that I might know what the right thing was for me to be doing with my days. I walked into that church and realised I has unwittingly stumbled into an ordination service. I felt sick throughout the entire thing, like the finger of God, in buzzing neon, was pointing right at me. From there I did a little bit of testing the waters, quite certain that I would be laughed out of whatever official church bods office I was sent to before too long. Three years later, here I am in my second year of training for ministry. Look who got the last laugh eh? Pah!
So the question of what I want and why I am here has felt like a journey of discovery. From sitting in my final interview answering the question of why church ministry was for me and (weepily) yelling out 'I don't care about anything else!' to realising on my many placements last year that what I have been called to is the most awesome of privileges. Slowly, I have been figuring it out. In many ways it feels like a process of decoding myself and my past, like solving the great big puzzle of why I came to be where I am and how that might be part of building a future for the church.
Yes, I am a bit of a wild card. I have no credentials to speak of, no great ancestry of Vicars behind me. I'm just a small, loud girl from Windsor who picked up a bible a few years ago and now gets to lead a church. But I've come to think that that, really, is the genius of it. Because God, my friends, has no favourites. We are all infinitely cherished and loved and if me being plain, ordinary and even a little bit daft at times helps people to see that then my work here is done.
So that is why I want to be a Vicar, to share this tremendous secret, this great big love I've found. I want people lives to be better and fuller and more technicolor than they already are. I want them to be themselves but in surround sound and HD. I believe that that is what knowing and loving God is all about. I want to build happier and healthier communities. I want to share gospel values of service and kindness and love. I want to be with people in their best and their worst. I want to leave the world a little bit better than when I came into it. And when you think about it like that, well, being a Vicar is the best darn job on earth!