Friday, April 1, 2011

Things I miss....

(By the way, I gave the heresy test to the 50 people in the Mary Magdalene class today. All but three believe in the 'immortality of the soul'. Gnostic heretics all!!!)

It's now been 11 months since I retired after 21 years as Rector of St. John's, Waterbury. I really love being retired, but there are some things I miss. Here are the top 10.

10. I miss the building. The little churches where I am presiding now are fine, but St. John's is a neo-Gothic marvel. I used to sit in the nave and watch the light change as afternoon came.

9. Besides the grandeur of the building, I miss the drop dead beauty of the windows--Tiffany and otherwise--they are imprinted on my heart. Stained glass was invented to 'tell the story' to the illiterate masses. What a story St. John's windows tell....

8. I miss the soup kitchen: the people who worked there and the patrons as well. I'd wander through from time to time and after two decades recognized every face and knew a lot of names. I also miss all the other groups that used the buildings that were part of our 'ministry of Space'. I miss them.

7. I miss the people from the parish who would just 'drop in' during the week--some with things to do and others just to say 'hi'.

6. I miss all the talking and listening I did. I live a much quieter life now--I'm on 'mute' a lot more than I was. I talk to Bern (but we've been talking since I was 17 and she was 14 {cradle robber, I know....}) and I talk to the dog, the cat and the birds. But for over 20 years I talked to and listened to dozens of people a day. I miss that.

5. I miss the kids in the chorister academy. They came in twice a week to rehearse and I would sit with them in the library and try to figure out what makes teens tick. I never did, but it was fun trying. I also miss all the myriad of kids who were in and out and around in Church School and other ways.

4. I miss Pauline and her outrageousness and all the quirky, weird, strange people that end up wandering through an urban church. I miss getting caught up in all that made them quirky or weird or strange. Cheshire is, except for one of two folks, the epicenter of normal-ness. I miss the abnormal--or paranormal, if you will.

3. I actually, from time to time--not always--miss the meetings I had to go to. I kinda like meetings, the process of it all, the give and take, the wondering and pondering that went on. Even the spats people sometimes had. I'm a fool for a good spat....

2. I miss the staff enormously. It took me 20 years to 'get it right' and to surround myself with people smarter and more creative than I was so I could watch their backs and leave them pretty much alone. The staff on the day I retired was a work of art, a 'dream team', people I loved profoundly who were all exceedingly good at what they did and contributed. I miss them.

And the number 1 thing I miss about St. John's is simply this: those good and lovely and oh-so-human and oh-so-lovable people. The Hispanic congregation, the 8 o'clock folks, the people who came to Adult Forum, the incredible folks at the Wednesday Eucharist, the 10:15 crowd, the Vestry and the Christmas and Easter folks. I miss them all, I really do. I really do, believe me....

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.