Two weeks ago, I let you all know that I will soon be leaving Trinity, and thus began our process of saying goodbye to one another. Leaving this community will be hard for me. You are hard to leave, because you have been willing to go to deep places and build genuine relationship in Christ.
Over and over again, you have shown me what it is to go deep, to engage the most important things with courage and love. And so, fueled by your good example of such depth, and inspired by Ira Byock’s book, The Four Things That Matter Most (look it up, it’s gem!), I have four things to say to you:
Thank you: For hours of wonderful conversation, and hundreds of moments of prayer. For letting me into your lives, your living rooms, your sorrows and joy. For trusting me with your babies and your parents, with weddings and funerals, with Sacraments and sermon-time. For choosing me in 2012, ordaining me in 2013, keeping me through the transitions, and launching me now. For being my friend. Thank you.
I’m sorry: For delayed or lost emails. For not getting to you in hospital rooms and rehab centers as quickly or frequently as you or I would have liked. For not calling when you missed a month of church. For calling you the wrong name. For every unsent (or unwritten) thank you note that you ought to have received. For forgetting things I should have remembered, or remembering things best forgotten. For any way I may have let you down or done harm during these years together, I am sorry.
I forgive you: For any mis-steps, mis-speaks, or mistakes along the way. For expectations that didn’t always align with my abilities or bandwidth. For any offense that may have occurred in the inevitably challenging course of being in community with one another. I forgive you.
I love you: Simply put- I love you. You are easy to love. Jesus tells us over and over again to love our enemies. He doesn’t command “Love the people you choose to be in faith community with” because he knows we don’t need to be told. It is like breathing- as life giving and automatic as that. It makes leaving difficult, yet also easy, because it is not a love that is limited by time and space. It is rather, the kind of love that gives us a taste of heaven and energizes us for the journey. And you have given it to me, simply by being you. And for that, I love you.
Gratefully yours in Christ,
P.S. Some of you have asked for some time together before I go, so I will hang a schedule of 20-minute time slots up outside my office door. You are welcome to come and put your name in one of the slots whenever you are here, or call me and I’ll schedule you in.