My dear friend Malinda is coming to my last service at St. John's on April 25. I told her to vest, because she is much loved, having been a priest at St. John's for 5 years or so, but when I told her I told her I'd be doing the whole service, all by myself, my last dance....
Now I suddenly realize I asked her to come because I might not be able to make it through the prayer of consecration. I may have to be taken away by EMTs after that service.
People ask me, "how are you doing about retiring?" and being an Appalachian in my core, after nearly 30 years in New England, I say, "I'm doing 'fine'....or 'fair to middlin'' or 'passing fair'--all the things people from where I come would say. Truth is, I am already in deep and profound and almost paralysing grief.
Every day I have tears in my eyes. Today after the staff meeting--all of which are raucous, hysterical and full of laughter--I thought, "how can I leave this? what could replace it?"
I work with people who are so wondrous and funny and competent that 'being their leader' is a misnomer. I just stay out of their way and let them do their magic....
The one thing I promise them and don't believe I've ever, ever failed them about is this: "I'll take the blame for anything that goes wrong or gets criticism". When things 'work', as they almost always do, I give the staff the credit. And, I do believe I have kept my promise. Anything that goes wrong is always and ever "my fault". (There aren't many of those I assure you, I picked them well....)
After tomorrow I have a months to go being Rector of St. John's, being with this remarkable group of people who I work with and for. We have an understanding--the only one that would make sense to me when surrounded by such a Cloud of Witnesses.
Four more staff meetings. Four more Sundays. One more Vestry meeting. Four more Wedsday Eucharists....Jesus, I used to be writing about 13 more weeks....the days dwindle down to a precious few.....
I am almost choked with grief.
A friend of mine told me I needed to "disengage". OK. Right. Roger and out.
Easier said that done.....
Maybe I asked Malinda to vest so she could push my sobbing body aside and finish the Eucharist for me.....Oh, I'm sure she'd do that gladly.....God bless her....
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- What I won't miss....
- If you ever think "you know"--stop it...
- there is a God...
- church like it isn't most places
- Looking at the Close
- "I know I told you this...but...."
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