In an odd sort of way, I have been involved in ministry for the last 13 years. My work mainly consists of logistical support, program management, information and referral, appointment scheduling, building management, and supervising/office management. I also provide crisis response, professional counseling, and security. All of which centers around the religious setting in an operational context.
I serve those who serve, and I provide care to the caregiver. I have overseen thousands of religious services, managed thousands of various faith based programs, provided support for hundreds of memorial services, and have responded to more life-and-death cornerstones than I care recall.
I have been an advocate for religious groups seeking the opportunity to express their faith in the absence of official faith group representation. I have trained lay leaders in the proper conduct and practice in the confines of our organization.
I have instructed hundreds of newly christened members of my organization towards a path of success, professional growth, and transition.
In these things I have all manner of pride. I do what I do because of the positive impact I am able to leave with people from all faiths, creeds, nationalities, races, gender identities, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
But my organization is changing; dramatically. I don’t know how long I can stay here in good conscience. I stand at a proverbial crossroads filled with uncertainty, anxiety, and fear.
Lots of fear.
I am looking at career alternatives. I have spent the last year looking at where my skill set would fit outside of this organization. Religious ministry and counseling both appear viable, as well as teaching, but there are certain roadblocks (schooling, certification, etc.) which stand in my way. They are not impassable roadblocks, but roadblocks which present significant difficulties with the resources I currently have available.
An interesting prospect I have looked into is that of Funeral Services. Many of my specific skill sets, personal talents, and interests fall within the realm of funeral services. Being able to offer compassion, consolation, counseling, information and referral, are the very things I do now. Arranging services is another thing I do at this moment.
The practice of embalming and body restoration would be a new realm for me, but one I know I could handle. I have an interest in biology and anatomy which would bolster my capabilities with the not so “glamorous” side of mortuary affairs.
Yesterday, I took a bold step; one of faith and hope. I’ve applied to a college with a program certified by the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE). Strangely, I have an overwhelming sense of peace with this step. It feels right. I’m scared, but it feels right.
An opportunity like this could change my family’s life for the better. And I would always be in a place to help others.