It seems like it was but yesterday when we put the last piece of tape on the last box and signed off on a couple of years our lives in Eunice, La. Time had been packed away like it was a carton of , and we were free of restraint and for a few minutes we were even free of worry and concern. Time to go again, like we have so many times before.
Till time crumbled and passed like some sort of assassin's blow dart.
See, at this time each year, many clergy prepare to begin new work in new places with new people. Some of it will feel familiar. But some challenges will catch us off guard. There will be unexpected blessings. Nothing will feel as overwhelming as it does on the first day, but it will not be as easy as we might like either. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to enter many dramatically different places with a continually changing array of new faces.
It is inevitable that we are going to love these people. It is one of the symptoms of having a pastor’s heart. And sometimes we are going to be surprised by which ones take the biggest chunk of our heart, too. The grumpy older gentleman who refuses to call us pastor because we are young and a woman might just be the one we still think about and worry about years after we have left. Love them, but be careful. Loving people does not mean being stupid or being weak. Love them, even when we disagree. Oh, and while we are busy learning to love this new group of people, we let them love us. It goes both ways.
There goes the stealing of the heart ...
Again, and again, and again.
It should be noted that all folks go through some type of loss. It gets no easier, no harder. It just is. Saying goodbye is as difficult as we make it. I kind of feel I'm going to make it hard again this time. It goes kind of like this ...