Since an official announcement of my retirement has been posted on the conference website and my replacement has been named, I have decided to change the name of this column to “Parting Shots.” I intend to use the remaining columns to take the following parting shots: March–feelings, April–confession, May–challenge, and June–Thanksgiving.
I can already feel relationships changing–inside me and around me. I find myself ‘counting down’–three more months, one more Easter, etc. I can feel folks around me leaning into futures that do not include me. Feelings are associated with this grief process. My spiritual health will be better if I can claim my own feelings and accept the feelings expressed by others non-judgmentally.
It is helpful to remind myself that grieving is a process laden with feelings–some of them contradictory. Some that I think of as negative will yield to strengths. As I reflect on 41 years of serving churches, I catch myself wondering what my legacy will be.
In no particular order, I’ve listed some of my feelings during this time of transition: joy, gratitude, relief, regret, sadness, guilt, affirmation, judgment, anticipation, despair, and hope. This is the first time that anger is not on the list of feelings I experience upon leaving a church. That is because I don’t have anyone to blame this time. That may not be true for some of you.
I reflect amid a deep sense of being surrounded by God’s grace. “In God we live and move and have our being.”