Tonight was the Community Thanksgiving Service, and it's really not over until I come home and write a blog post about it. This was my eighth one here in Little Town on the Prairie, and the march of them has measured my years here, metered my progress in folding myself into the life of this community. The first year, sitting alone in the expanse of the Catholic Church nave wondering if I would ever fit in this place, know anyone, belong. The second and third years, singing with the community choir, knowing a few people, feeling a little more settled. By year four I was a lector, year five, I walked with the clergy for the first time. Years six and seven I was on the planning group. This year I was again with the clergy and read the Gospel. It was bittersweet as so many things are...these "lasts." It's an odd thing to know so far in advance that we really are leaving this place. Not exactly when or for where, but to know for pretty sure and certain that by this time next year I will be somewhere else but here. So many things then are these "last times" that have become part of my life here.
With the way things have been of late, there is a part of me that could pack and go tomorrow. But there are commitments that must be kept, and I know that we will be here at least through Spring. So there will be many of these moments, these quiet little goodbyes with their bittersweet edge. It has been a good ride here and I'm hoping that this bumpy patch now does not portent a bad end. That would really make me sad. I have rarely loved a place as much as I have this one. Nor have I ever been in one physical location where as much emotional transformation has happened to me. I connect here with much that is good in my life, much that is wonderful and special, and I would like that to be what I take away, not the sad and bitter feelings that I have right now. I am gathering in gratitude for all that has been and trying to be hopeful that this trying time is a short season, passing quickly and forgotten easily.
At our service tonight, the sermon focused on thanking those who have made a difference in our lives. A local printer donated thank you notes to pass out to the congregation and the preacher asked everyone to take one home, write it out and mail it to someone who has been significant for us. He encouraged us all to begin the note, Dear _____, "I thank God for you because..." I did take a note and have someone in mind to send it to. But in addition, I have another thank you note to wtite.....
My Dear RevGal blogger friends,
I thank God for you. When I found this ring it was at a time in my life when I really needed to know that there were other women out there doing what I do, thinking how I think, wondering about what I wonder about, laughing and crying, praying and struggling and trying to live authentic and faithful lives "in the midst." You, my blogger friends, have been with me through some of the best and worst stuff I have gone through in my entire life....endings, beginnings....deep pain and great joy... and your support and common sense and good humor have carried me through it, gotten me over it, and probably more importantly over myself. Meeting some of you on first 2 BEs has been so awesome (especially that first one...oh my...talk about your liminal space) and I am SO looking forward to BE4! So even though I am not blogging as much (or getting around to my blog reading either...sigh...) you are the best and remain in my heart with much gratitude as well as in my prayers. So blessings and thanks to the RGBP bloggers in my life.