I really want to get to the next chapter! However, I want to make sure that I have read every last word in the chapter I’m in, so I don’t miss one little detail.
Tens years ago we had no idea that this chapter would be ten years long! We left a pretty great life in lower Michigan with three elementary school-aged children to go to the seminary. It’s a four-year program. We figured we would be in St. Louis for four years. Right?
Well, when the four years were over, my husband received his first call to a congregation right here in St. Louis. So, we bought a house and settled in for the long haul! We found favorite restaurants, and running spots, and dry cleaners, and grocery stores. Over the past ten years we have made life-long friends. We have raised our children.
A year ago, when my husband was offered the position in Ann Arbor, he had to move quickly. They wanted him on campus for the start of school, which was two weeks away! The congregation he was serving had a farewell, he had many lunches and coffees with close friends, and he hit the road. Over the year he has made several trips back to St. Louis, often interacting with the people that he has already said goodbye to.
I have had a very different experience. I’ve known I am going to leave for almost a year now. I have had the support of my fabulous Monday night small group. I have had the opportunity to walk with my students through this transition. I have been able to participate in the hiring of my replacement. I have been able to set up my medical team in Ann Arbor. I have been able to clean through the house, getting rid of things that we will no longer need or want in our new place. My staff has said their farewells to me. I have had countless goodbye lunches with friends. I have had final visits with my hair stylist and my doctors. I think I am ready.
But am I? Every once in a while, a flood of emotion comes to the surface. This has been a great chapter. It’s had its conflict and resolution. It’s had a mix of characters. It’s had plot twists. What if the next chapter is a little boring? Or has no connection to what has been happening in my story? What if the plot doesn’t build? What if the main character has a crisis? What if she doesn’t know how to handle that crisis?
Be still. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” I know, I know. Be Still.