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The last few weeks have been amazing, challenging, rewarding, beautiful. And scary. We welcomed grandbaby number two on October 23rd – the beautiful Eliza James Dreyfus arrived at 8 lbs 11 oz of smiles and sweetness (she really does smile a lot). Daughter Chelsea is doing well and was a laboring rock star. My wife, the labor/delivery nurse, and John, Chelsea’s husband and the amazing Eliza’s Dad, were labor coaches supreme and after two hours of difficult labor, following a night of induction, Eliza arrived and our world is brighter because she is here.
Her cousin Juby, now 5 months old and an incredible delight to us all, was there to greet her (along with his mother, Mackenzie, my middle child) and Uncle Joseph came up a few days later to meet his niece. John’s parents were there of course and his two brothers and their families welcomed Eliza soon after birth. I spent a few days at their home before returning to Delray and Jennifer is on her way right now. On her way to the countdown.
November 8th marks my last day at St. Paul’s. This week, just as the others leading up to it, has been filled with lots of hugs and some tears. We have begun counting off the “last things” – last Day School board meeting was last week, last Vestry is this Sunday, last Day School chapel will be Tuesday, each day bringing some more “last times”. Two sermons to go, one baptism, one funeral, lots of farewells, some wonderful celebrations, and not a small amount of sadness will be the order of the week. I really love these folks. St. Paul’s is an amazing place and the Reverend Paul Kane will be really blessed to be their Rector. And they have done well in calling Paul, he will do wonderful work alongside some pretty special people.
Meanwhile the question of the day/week/month continues to be – “so, where are you going? Have they assigned you to your next church yet?” Many Episcopalians are confused about how discernment and search processes work and most assume interims are just assigned a new spot when one ends. Of course for a lot of interim priests it does kind of work that way – although not assigned they do readily move from one interim position to the next. My interim time here has been much longer than anticipated (to our delight), but I have been unsuccessful thus far finding my next cure. I do not necessarily want to do another interim gig, but I am not opposed to that if the right fit comes along. It is staring into the unknown that is difficult.
Difficult, but not distressing. For we know we have been called and as St. Paul urges us in Ephesians, we do our best to answer the call, to live, as he begs, “a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. We do not always live up to such lofty aspirations, in fact I rarely do. It is the journey that matters, the reaching for the goal, the attempt to practice what we preach, the hope and faith and trust that God is in the midst of all this and we will in time understand fully what we now can only wonder.
And we are not alone, nor is this only about whatever “church job” I can find. Jennifer is now an official, board certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Goodness she worked so hard to earn her degree and pass boards – despite much adversity and disruption in our lives, she reached for something she thought was beyond her capability (although her family never doubted), and she GOT IT. She has lived a life worthy of the calling to which she has been called and has much to offer the world as a PNP. Maybe our next stop focuses on her work. We just don’t know. We just move on in faith.
This week will test us. This is the hard stuff. Lots to celebrate, lots of necks to hug and times to remember and prayers to offer and blessings to give and receive. We have been so blessed to wander with such an amazing body of Christ and community for a short while. I will miss this place terribly. Yet the countdown is winding low. The time has come. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
(stay tuned for a post on “breath of life” prayer, which I am leaning on pretty hard right now. Lord Jesus, show me your way).