Today is the sigh of relief.
Not because there are more answers or less questions.
Not because there are less thoughts percolating in my head.
Not because there is less pain in the world that needs to be addressed.
I am relieved because today I let go of the labels that I feel I have to take on.
I have been holding a label in my hands that is too heavy for me to carry.
The label of spiritual leader, pastor, chaplain, deacon, etc. is huge.
It's big because other people place their own ideals on it,
and I also hold the memories of leaders I know that make this label bigger than what I will ever be.
I will not be a leader that is like any of the 50 pastors that I know because I will be me.
My calling is personal and walks with me everywhere I go.
It's hard to connect who I am and who I am in comparison to the multitude of pastors that I know.
It's hard to connect who I am and what the label of pastor is.
So why do it? Why pain myself into doubting what I can do or if I should be here?
Why should I be able to be comfortable taking on a label?
Why should we be comfortable to place labels on everything, including God?
I am me, I am Kaitlin. I am called by God and Jesus walks with me.
I would be doing the work of God anyway, no matter where I was or what I was doing. I am here, in Berkeley, continuing to learn what it means to be a church leader in the ELCA. That does not define me; my relationship with God defines every fiber of my being.
I am a leader and I have a strong relationship with God but those are not mutually exclusive.
I am me and that is all the label that I will ever need to do the work that I am here to do. Does my future include a label of pastor/chaplain/ordained minister? Yes, as it happens. For me, the label worth emphasizing is my humanity and the love that the Divine One has given to all humanity.