It's November...mid actually, and I am waxing nostalgic. We went to a concert the other night at one of the local Lutheran churches. The sanctuary reminded me of the church where we frequently held our community Thanksgiving service in my former life in Little Town on the Prairie. That service will, I think, be held this year in the newly renovated Catholic church. (We alternated between the two as they had the larger of the town's sanctuaries.) For the first time in nine years,I don't know where I will be on the night before Thanksgiving. I will not be there, I know that for sure, and I am feeling more than a little sad about it. That service was a benchmark of sorts for me in my gradually becoming a part of that community. The first year I remember sitting alone in the big Catholic church, wondering if I would ever belong to this place. In subsequent years I sang with the choir, and in the years after I was ordained processed in with the clergy, gave the blessing, did a reading, planned the service. I will not be there for the Thanksgiving service this year, nor will I be driving myself crazy over getting all the robing of the choristers accomplished for Lessons and Carols, serving turkey dinner with the Presbyterians on Christmas Eve, or celebrating the Midnight service in my little jewel box church. Each year as I participated in these traditions, I felt a part of something bigger than myself. I miss that. Our life here that in so many ways is a more private one, a smaller one. Sometimes I have felt a little cast adrift, without a role, a place in the community.
We are still finding our way here. I know that there will be new traditions in a new home, new things that will capture my spirit and imagination and that will help me find my sense of place here. The potential is there. There may be new possibilities for ministry just over the horizon. That makes me hopeful. But right now I am just a little melancholy, just a little homesick for the life that was.
I know that part of the sadness and feelings of displacement is over the ending of CPE. Yes, already, I am done. It was simply....not right. I knew it very quickly, and I knew it very profoundly. Perhaps it was a timing error, perhaps an underestimation of the impact and the energy it would take to do this alongside a full time and demanding in its own right "day job." But I knew that I could not go on. And the input of the man I love and trust utterly validated and reinforced my need to let go. As he could see even more than I the toll this was taking, he offered the strength I needed to make the hard and final decision. There are surely things I will miss. I had a great supervisor and peer group. And there were moments of pure grace. I can hold them as I let go of the thought that this might be a call for me, as clearly it is not.
So that is settled, though other things are not. That is known while others remain in the realm of "not yet." Patience has never been my strong suit. But as my wise beloved says, "we must live with what is not what if." And for me right, that also includes the "what if" of what may be. I can't live there any more than I can live in "if only" looking backward.
I once said to a friend that I missed my life. She told me that really, I can't as I am living today the only life there is. So I am living here, now, though I still find myself wondering a lot about what might be in store next. One day at time I am living this life, the one that is now....but I can't help missing a little of what was while I wait, in hope for what will be.