Saying Goodbye…

June 26, 2006

Well, I had my going away parties.  We had one for the kids on Saturday afternoon- complete with a bouncer and cake, of course- and one for the grown-ups that night.  They were both great.  The kids party felt like a going away party because we probably won't see most of them again, but most of the folks from the adult party we saw again Sunday morning at church.  So it was "goodbye" Saturday night and "hello" Sunday morning.

The most difficult part was Sunday morning.  Because the kids will be at their other dads' house next weekend, this was their last week at All Saints.  We had adult baptisms yesterday, and all the kids were, as usual, up front to watch.  I watch Brian as he watched the sacrament intensely, wondering if he remembered his own baptism right there in the very same spot.  I thought of this wonderful place and what a wonderful starting place it is for their journey.  In my witness for stewardship last week, I explained that I largely started attending church again, especially All Saints, because of the kids.  When I saw All Saints children's choir- the diverse, multi-colored faces- I knew this was a place I wanted my kids to be.  They were included in communion.  I remember feeling "left-out" as a child each time the communion sacraments would be passed over my head (I was raised in a tradition where we couldn't partake until we were confirmed).  My kids won't ever remember a time when they didn't have communion.  This is an inclusive church.

We made our rounds, said our goodbye's to our Sunday School teachers, and especially to the child care workers who are, fortunately for me, available with 24 hours notice to watch the kids for any committee meetings, small groups, or whatever.  They've gotten to know the kids well!  It was nice to be able to see them.

It's finally starting to sink in.  I get to start something new, but it isn't without leaving something behind.  The words of a seminarian from visitors weekend keep haunting me:  "In order for me to make my journey through seminary, I know that a part of me has to die in order for another part of me to have new life."  I don't think the All Saints part of me has to die, but I do know that in order for me to grow and get something new and wonderful I have to leave something wonderful behind.  Maybe I'll be back someday.  I know I will at least visit.  And, I know that the future for me will be wonderful.  And, I know that a wonderful future doesn't mean that I can't grieve for what I'm leaving either.

So I'll grieve, and be excited for the future, and pack frantically all at once.  And two weeks from now I'll be on the road to Austin!  I am excited about it.  Or I will be if I can ever get all the packing done…

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