Spiritually Speaking: The Art of Waiting
When I announced that I would be leaving after the service on Christmas Day of this year, it seemed a long way off as I made the announcement in May. I shared that the general advice for leaving was that one should not announce their departure more than three months in advance. I joked that the transition process was already off to a great start. Quite a few folks asked over the last few months “are you regretting the length of your transition?” It is true: never before in my life have I been in transition for such a sustained time.
Those who know me well might be able to ascertain that patience is not a virtue which I possess. Even the word alone sends a chill of irritation down my spine! So, when we discovered that Ann Marie, my spouse, would need to begin her job in August and that our family would live apart until the day after Christmas, I dreaded an extended waiting period.
Sitting here, at the edge of December 25th, I am grateful for the waiting time we shared. Yes, of course, I miss my family and look forward to being with them. And yet, I am grateful for the time that was a great deal more than waiting. It was the gift of officiating at weddings, honoring two lives in memorials. It was the gift of planning a baby dedication and welcoming new staff who will see this ministry farther than I could. It was the gift of ministering in the complexity of a political season and the witness to Charlotte rising up. It was the gift of Sundays and all the days in between to say goodbye and, to say, thank you.
It was much more than a waiting period.
Piedmont UU Church will soon be led by the new incoming interim minister, Reverend Leland Bond-Upson. Some may even be dreading an extended waiting period. Some of you may feel you are uncertain if you can “wait it out.” The time approaching is a gift to experience a new ministry with Rev. Lee, and to find in the richness of time both memory and vision. Six years and seven months ago, you called me as your minister. I doubt any of us who were there at that moment could have imagined exactly what would follow. It would be impossible now to predict what will follow. What I know to be true at this moment is that sanctuaries like Piedmont UU Church will be more desperately needed than ever before. The time between now and when you call your next minister need not be an extended waiting period. I bless you with a time as rich, meaningful, and sacred as the time you have given me these last six months, and in full measure, for these last six years.
With love, courage and appreciation,