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Being Present to Saying Goodbye

At the beginning of April, I wrote a letter which I read to you in a video. When I spoke to one of you on the phone about my decision to leave at the end of this church year, we said some naughty words together! I have been happy here and will deeply miss both you and the beauteous nature that surrounds you. Even though I know that this is the right decision, I am sad to leave this congregation. You have expressed sadness to me as the news spread through our community. And, many of you have expressed both sadness and happiness. With your sadness is happiness for me and Mary Lou as we engage more fully in our creativity. Some of you are remembering your own choices to follow your heart even when it made others unhappy.


In the Weekly Peak and in my videos, I extend to you an invitation to come and see me so that we can spend time together. I’d love to share with you any thoughts you have in this moment. We could even sit and cry or say bad words. It is okay for us to be sad right now. Eventually or even in the midst of the sadness, we will begin to find laughter and joy. We have lots of good times to remember from the past five years and, of course, there is the present. As Thich Nhat Hanh reveals to us, happiness already exists inside and around us in this moment. We must simply open the door… But in order to open the door, we must be attentive to the sadness that is with us. If you who have gone through the death of a loved one, you know that it is impossible to wish our sadness away. We must be faithful to our grief in order for it to open into joy. I promise to be faithful with you.


How can we do that?


During our Sunday worship services, I haven’t wanted to bring up this sadness because that might be confusing for our new people. Please come to me after a service, if you are feeling sad or happy, and say, “Shall we spend some time?” I will say, “Yes!” I will be with you in this and be hoping that we can all find that door that will open onto joy. It is there. Always. Waiting.


On June 15th from 5 p.m., in our sanctuary, we will have a farewell service and I hope that you take the time to write to me or plan on saying something at that service. Tell me about what you will remember. How have we supported each other during these past five years? What have we learned? How have we laughed? How will we be forever changed? After that service, we will dance. I invite you to be present to saying goodbye.


For now, I’m going out on our deck to listen to the ponderosa and watch for that bird who comes each year to nest.


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