A long time ago sometime told me to “hope for the best, expect the worst, and with any luck, you’ll wind up in-between”.  It seemed at the time like a reasonable way to approach life’s hills and valleys, though since then there has been much public affirmation of the idea that our expectations often manifest themselves.  (The take-home message being:  don’t even THINK about anything less than the ideal outcome, because you’ll be setting yourself up for some bad news!)  

Seven years ago, guided by that first piece of advice, I began the long, formal journey toward Unitarian Universalist ministry.  During those years I learned the wisdom of keeping my head down, taking things “one step at a time”; slowing down the pace; stopping to rest and even backtrack a bit when necessary.  Can’t say that I ever got out of the habit of focusing on the hope, rather than the expectation – but there were lots of folks who did lift up for me their own high expectations.

And that’s what I thought of this week, when I opened my letter from the MFC and saw that Final Fellowship had been granted.  Don’t know that I ever allowed myself to truly believe it would happen.  In that moment, I felt the presence of every single person who bore witness to this journey, who encouraged and celebrated, critiqued and questioned – every single person, who kept before me the vision that I couldn’t see while carefully monitoring the placement of my steps! 

So maybe it’s not just a matter of keeping our expectations for our own lives “high”.  Maybe what’s really important, is that others care enough to lift up their own on our behalf.

In gratitude and awe for this journey and for all who helped shape it,

Rev. Stefanie

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