I have my husband, and Shane & Shane to thank for the title of this post. It’s exactly how it feels lately. Lots of change, and everything is different. Yesterday marked the beginning of a significant transition for us, and for the entire congregation and staff at the church where we work. Our pastor and friend preached his last sermon in our pulpit, said goodbye, gave his parting hugs, and will now embark on a new ministerial adventure in Tennessee. I didn’t quite know what to do with yesterday. It was emotionally-charged to say the very least. Bitter. Sweet. Joyful. Sorrowful. Paradoxical overall. It was hard.
So Nathan and I sat and reflected together after the day came to a gradual end, at one of our favorite cafes in old Littleton. We are coming up on two years as staff members at the church. Jeff has been our boss, pastor, mentor, and friend for almost the entire time Nathan and I have been married. Along with many others who oversee the operations of the church, Jeff gave us our first opportunity in ministry as a couple. Supported us, believed in us, gave us the chance to experiment with new programs, new ideas. I described it to Nathan as the following: “It’s as if we were two young seedlings that Jeff, and many others, graciously gave a plot of earth to. An unexpected plot at that! We were given a place to grow, to spread out, to bloom. And all the while, Jeff tended to us as our leader under the good Lord. And now, our friend and gardner is setting out to a new plot, to help other seedlings grow, and to tend to them as he did to us.”
It’s hard to conclude such a special season of our lives under his leadership. But we are forever grateful for the time we’ve had, and we will no doubt see the imprint of his care and pastorship in our lives over all the years to come.
So we begin this next week with gratitude for changes in abundance. A new-to-us car. A new season (as yesterday marked the first day of autumn), and a new era as staff and worshippers at First Pres. of Littleton.
New is not always comfortable, but it is necessary. So let us welcome the changes and seasonal shifts in our lives.
I would like to end this post with a prayer of St. Francis of Assisi~
Rev. Jeff’s hero of the faith, and a model to us all.
make me an instrument of Thy Peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow Love;
Where there is injury, Pardon;
Where there is doubt, Faith;
Where there is despair, Hope;
Where there is darkness, Light, and
Where there is sadness, Joy.
O, DIVINE MASTER,
Grant that I may not so much
Seek to be consoled as to Console;
To be understood as to Understand;
To be loved as to Love;
For it is in Giving that we receive;
It is in Pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in Dying that we are born to Eternal life.