After a couple years of battling off the inevitable, I have now officially left seminary formation. I am an ordinary, rank-and-file Catholic again, after five and a half years.
It has happened so suddenly and unexpectedly that I am almost too confused to say more. Right now I am moving out of the rectory and looking for work. The bishop is strongly encouraging me to take a position teaching theology at one of the local Catholic high schools.
In the last two months I have strongly contemplated entering religious life. This is still a big part of my current discernment. However, decisions that I must make soon (virtually right now) will determine whether that is a possible within the year, or whether I will live and work as a layman for a year.
The latter seems more attractive at this point because of the flexibility afforded by lay life, and the possibility of dating. Not that I have forgotten about the monastery. But coming fresh off of a "dysfunctional 5 year relationship," my desire to jump back into a specialized vocation is rather weak. This is an opportunity for me to try to do something I have never done before: live on my own.
But as yet, I do not know what I will do. I ask for your prayers.