**note: this piece was originally published on The Story Unfolding blog on August 8.27.2014 when i was still a Story Unfolding coach. As that blog is no longer active, i am moving my words - with their permission - here to this space.**

i'm starting seminary in twelve days. 

that, my friends, is a ridiculous statement.

i mean, don't i know that i am already overwhelmed with my life?? that i have two boys under five that keep me in motion and talking ALL DAY (and don't get me started on my fifteen facebook groups i am regularly active in)? don't i know i'm an introvert, and in recovery from unhealthy-for-my-soul church environments? haven't i noticed how i've been triggered by the whole process of applying to a freaking seminary, and having them push back on my lack of certainty on their doctrine of faith? don't i remember the instability of the last year or two spiritually? can't i see that this is the most ridiculous course of action for a 33-year-old ex-nurse-now-stay-at-home-mom-and-doubter-and-artist??

i do, i can, i have.

and yet.

there is something pulling me in this direction. something divine and mysterious that feels akin to desire and holy calling. i have wanted this for years, but somehow right.now. is the time. i've seen the secret messages, the writing in the sky, my own eyes opening wide.

i have walked a long, dark road. i fought against every step, wishing for light.

light came, but it came gentler, softer than i'd imagined. the voice of invitation to know my-self, to be my-self, to love. it doesn't illumine everything (and not nearly enough at all, if you ask me), but it is worth each tentative barely-lit step out into freedom. 

there has been a witness to this entire long walk. my anam cara, my spiritual director. i could be more grateful for nothing. she has been with me, seen me and my depths all along the way. she has spoken the truest of truths over my soul, touched and prayed and cried with me. i once wished aloud that everyone could have a *her* in their lives, because holy.wow. her response? "what if the people in *your* life need a *you*?" it was the first time i'd considered entering this degree program for any reason other than personal transformation. (that is still not-so-secretly the most important reason to me at this point, but the hope of getting to walk with others through dark nights and bright days, through their own transformation? the possibility there is enough to make my heart swell joyful. peaceful. hopeful.)

i light up when i talk about this. the program, the possibility, the desire to become. this is where i'm supposed to be in this moment. 

but it has not come without its battles. i have had to fight for what i know, for where i deeply and intuitively find myself guided, even when it means thousands of dollars and hours of baby-sitting and the sacrifice of saying no to what have held dear; because they are not my *right.now*. those things are hard.

{especially the "no"s. bianca & i were talking  last night about how they feel like small deaths. i experience them, too, as little betrayals.} 

but now that i know - the freedom... this next quietly illuminated piece of the path... the YES that is resonating in me - there is no other course for me. i am choosing life.

and right now that looks like starting a degree at the Institute for Spiritual Formation. 

(someone hold me?)

AuthorJamie Bonilla