What I do want to say on this Friday is that I am more aware than ever of the gifts that have been given me through my ministry as an ordained person over the last few years. Some of them have been immediately recognizable and apparent, while others have taken a while to mature and to show themselves. I give thanks for all who have walked with me and guided me and taught me so much, all of which has helped make me ready to be where I am now and in the future as well.
I've always prided myself on being an enthusiastic learner. I have always loved books and school and I am almost embarrassingly nerdy about enjoying conferences and clergy days and other gatherings in which I am exposed to new information and get to be around other people. Still, I can be resistant when it comes to learning new things. Because in certain arenas, learning something new may suggest that one has something to learn, and that can be uncomfortable to someone who wants to appear "together" and knowledgable and wise. So it's a delicate balance, learning and being wise and knowledgeable, being competent and yet open to new ways of being and doing. Adopting an attitude of being open, of course, is always wise, and doesn't take away from what one already knows. But I have sometimes found the way through all of those layers to be a little challenging.
On the other hand, birthdays sometimes help in this regard. Recently I had a birthday, and although it wasn't one that ends with a zero (that's next year, thank you very much), I am taking the opportunity to try to be both older and wiser, which somehow frees one from some of the need to know all the things. I am trying to be happy knowing what I know, recognizing that much of it is truly valuable, although the fact that lyrics to many an anthem from the 60's and 70's (summer's here and the time is right for dancing in the street!) seem to be indelibly stuck in my brain gives me pause for just how much room there's going to be for more weighty information going forward. What I know is helpful and how I can build on that will be delightful for me and for those with whom I wander in this transitory life.
Further to the timing of this reflection, I now have a date for moving to a new house in a new city where I've already been working for six weeks in a fantastic church. And so, having announced this to the world, I begin the deliberate work of physical transition, packing up and closing down one home while preparing to settle in to another. I imagine that in future days, I'll want to post about some last things, last impressions and last experiences, from this place I've called home for nearly three years.
So that's what I'm thinking about today. As I stand in this place of both looking back and looking forward, I give thanks for all my teachers, those who taught me officially and overtly as well as those who taught me occasionally and even by accident and sometimes against my will. I give thanks for my experiences, knowing that even the awful ones have been transformed (thank you, Jesus) into something life-giving and that the fantastic ones are precious gifts from God. I give thanks for my mistakes, for they have often taught me the most.
And I give thanks for all of you who journey with me here, who encourage me and laugh with me.
Enjoy the weekend.