From the conversations I’ve been having, the emails I have been reading, the meetings I’ve been attending, I know we’re all rocked by change. I’m not going to be giving you any lessons on it—you’ll get enough from your next minister after I’m gone, I’m sure. But I’m aware myself, of how I experience fits and starts of “it’s fine” and “it’s not!” in my daily life, practicing saying goodbye to friends and colleagues, and now saying real goodbyes to you.
At the ministers’ transitions ritual (we have one in the spring every year at our ministers gathering), we acknowledged the lifeline that connects us one to another. Some think of this as our covenant, others, literally remembered the story of a rope that holds us when rock climbing. In our ritual, a ribbon, symbolizing that connection to each other, was passed around our large circle, as we saw written on the ribbon, the names and values we hold dear. Then, those of us who were making a big transition—leaving—had the lifeline cut, with scissors, recognizing our departure from our ministries, and some of the community itself. We moved to the center of the circle, with those who would remain, encircling us. We were prayed for, and we sang together, giving hugs and posing for photos as this emotional event ended. Just then, I began to realize I’m really going.
I’ve now taken my piece of ribbon and draped it over the rear-view mirror of my car. I guess it makes sense that’s where it resides. I’m always going or coming in my car. My dear friend reminded me of the scene in the last episode of my once favorite show, Six Feet Under, where the younger daughter, Claire, drives out of town in her quiet cerulean Prius. A montage of all the people in her life and how their lives play out is glimpsed in between cuts of her steering; the smooth singer’s lyrics of “Breathe Me” plays as the soundtrack.
At least this is not my last newsletter to you. There is still time to recall our time together.
The words from our 1937 hymnal inspire me, “…kindle in our hearts the faith that shall be a light upon our way and a song upon our lips.”