Today I had yet another interview with a chaplain as part of my application for active duty Navy chaplain. He was a Navy Reserve chaplain serving a Marine unit in Grand Prairie, Texas. Because I have a particular passion for ministry to Marines (at least would like to start off my Naval career with them), it was exciting to enter the base and meet with him. While such interviews (really his evaluation of my fitness for chaplain/officer candidacy) often last for approximately 30-45 minutes, ours lasted nearly 90. Though he must have developed an opinion of me in the opening moments, the longer duration of the meeting was due to my questions for him. There's a great deal I wanted to know, and stories I want to hear.
With the passing minutes the chaplain was gracious and informative, advising me regarding principles of chaplaincy I would do well to remember once in active duty and serving. What he may have sensed, but I tried hard to mask, was my growing eagerness to begin serving with each anecdote he shared. When he warned that a chaplain should not remain behind his desk, but be out among his people in the field, I nearly screamed, "Exactly! I know! Let me out there!"
For purposes of our conversation, it was not the place to leap out of my seat and express all of my pent up enthusiasm. Nevertheless, most likely the greatest challenge I will face in the coming months is not fulfilling the qualifying requirements (those are proceeding well), but patiently allowing the process to unfold. I'm like the dog who bolts for the door when he first hears his chain rattle. He's so eager to go for the walk that he can hardly contain himself. I'm chomping at the bit; straining at the slits; jerking at the chain. I know that the whole application process will unfold in the manner that it should, but in the meantime I'm quite eager to begin.
There's not a moment to lose!