This past month, I have been finishing a lot of things: I finished my classes at school; I finished the class that I taught this semester. I finished another year of life (that counts!) And I switched out my summer and winter clothes (that counts, too!) And these past two weeks I have been riding a rolling avalanche of endings. I ended three years of seminary last week. Two days ago, I preached my final sermon for the congregation where I have been serving as Intern Minister; that service will end soon too. Earlier today, I finished an online class that I have been taking. Last weekend, I bid farewell, to my parents who relocated to another part of the country.
So much ending. So much loss.
But amid these endings, and in truth—because of them, there are also new beginnings. My parents are embarking on a new leg of their journey together. I am a Master of Divinity (yes, I know that’s not how you actually say it, but it’s more fun this way). And next month, I will probably don religious vestments for the first time as we honor and celebrate my own minister—who is ending a 20-year ministry with my congregation.
Amidst so much loss, there are also new beginnings. I have been returning again and again to this mediation by Nancy Shaffer
Leaving, I have wanted also
A going toward: something that
catches me on the other side.
Wanted not just leaving but
So I have been grieving.
I form relationships with things:
the height of doorways, plum-colored
wool at the edge of a weaving,
the way shadows fall at night
and still I can see. I am anchored
by the physical: muse for what is within.
Move as I move, because of such holding.
It is not enough to say, Well,
I am going toward God.
There must be particulars—
a bright blue cloth besides a window
beside acacia; loved arms
of the human sort; deep wells of knowing,
only guessed at before.