You may not have picked up on it, but I'm excited about starting my ministry in Capital. I'm excited about the ways that congregation is different from Tiny Village. I'm eager to leave here and begin my new ministry. I also know that there are many people here who are going to grieve my departure. It would be easy for them to think I am rejecting them as being inferior, or unworthy. Today I had lunch with a colleague. I was able to share with her my enthusiasm for a new congregation that is so very different from this one.
I love these people. I have formed a deep bond with many of them as I have had the honor of accompanying them through the valley of the shadow of death and other challenging times. I will miss many of them as individuals. I will miss many of the traditions. I will not miss the frustrations, resistance, and short sightedness of this community. So while I can celebrate the new congregation and the opportunity it will bring with colleagues, it's important that I remember that I still need to be pastor to these people. They still need to know that I love them. They still need to know they can turn to me.
With the congregation, I'm focusing on the need for Daughter to have more and better opportunities. That's something they can understand. That's something that isn't a reflection on them as a congregation, but on the reality of life in rural America with a special needs young adult. I need to be sensitive to those who are grieving. Too much celebration on my part will seem like a slap in their face-- like a rejection of who they are. I want to leave well. I want them to know that I am grateful for the time I've had with them, and that they will continue to have a place in my heart. I don't want them to take my excitement about a new opportunity as rejection of them.
I know what I need to do. I'm sensitive to their pain, and I'm so excited about our future that it's hard not to seem insensitive to their pain. I want to leave well, and it's going to be a challenge.