Yesterday, I had lunch with Brian and Eleanor, coffee with Claudio, a beer with John and dinner with Jessica. It was a full day of eating, drinking and trying not to say goodbye. It was a full day of trying not to say all that these people have meant to me in the past three years (they are all friends from seminary so I have only known them a mere lifetime of three years). See, I don't like to say goodbyes. I'm moving. I'm heading out into God's service to do new and exciting things, but I'm leaving behind friends and family that I shall deeply miss. And let's face it. I'm a total sap so I need to tell people how much they mean to me. But, I'm also stubborn as all get out and don't want to actually say goodbye because it's not really goodbye, it's "see you soon," right? I hate the whole thing.
But as I gathered with these dear and beloved friends, each one of them offered to list my good qualities. I thought it was my turn but as I relayed my amazement that I will actually be doing the work that I feel called to do so soon, these kind friends listed why it's not a surprise. They wanted to tell me why it was no surprise that it was all happening so fast. Of course, I wouldn't let any of them get these words out. Instead, I wanted to tell them how much they mean to me and how much they have made me into the person that I am -- and even more, the pastor that I am.
John remarked that humility is a byproduct of Christian love. If you love your neighbor and do all that, humility will come naturally. This was said before the beers were poured and we chuckled about being less than beacons of spirituality. But, I think it was Jessica that said it best. She loves the church as much as I do and refuses to give into the silly tides of politics. It feels like somehow they will figure it out. Soon enough, they will see that I'm not all that great. Soon enough, they will see that I still feel like I'm acting in the best feat of theatre imaginable. Soon enough, I'll get figured out. God bless Jessica for saying these words that I'm not sure how to articulate. It's not that our calls are not authentic, deep and true. Instead, it's the constant amazement that we could be so lucky to do this work. And who better than a good friend to understand these deep and confusing emotion?
But, I still don't want to say goodbye.