I’m cleaning out my office today.
I’m leaving my beloved call of almost eight years, and I’ve procrastinated on packing up books until almost the last minute. Well, the last minute for ME (I’m not a procrastinator…I’m an obsessive planner). And today I’m packing up my books, pictures of my kids and godson, drawings children have made for me over the years, cards I was given for pastors’ appreciation month, and such.
It’s really hard.
I moved seven times in my first fourteen years, and this is my fourth call, so you would think this would be easy. If not easy, then at least familiar. But there’s nothing familiar about this. I didn’t mean to stay here so long…I didn’t mean to take an associate pastor call…I didn’t mean to love this church and its people.
Why am I leaving? That’s the million dollar question. Since I announced my resignation, I’ve heard all kinds of fun rumors from “she’s getting her doctorate,” (I wish!) to “the synod’s making her do it,” (not at all!) to the all time classic for women, “she’s leaving to spend more time with her family” (ha ha! I love them, but nope!).
The true answer is both more and less complicated than any rumor I’ve heard. The truth is that I feel called away from here, even if I don’t know immediately where I’m going. They have needs in the senior pastor transition that I don’t think I can fill, that I don’t think I have the right energy to fill. I understand now why most pastoral staffs resign at the same time as the senior pastor; everything will change now, no matter how we try to stop it.
So I’m cleaning out my office. People are coming by to say goodbye every day. My last sermon is on First Corinthians 13, the wedding scripture, which I think is pretty appropriate. It talks about everything passing away, but only love remaining, which is how I feel about pretty much life in general right now.
I’ll end my call on May 1, 2016, exactly seven years after the bishop signed my letter of call. Seven is a biblical number, and means completion. I’m going to go with that little sign, and complete my ministry here with great love for this church and these people. That feels like the most huge accomplishment of all. Peace and blessings to Holy Trinity…I wish you the best and will be praying for you always.