In the Meantime,
Happenings – June 2, 2022
June will be a momentous month for me. Tomorrow is my grandson Sam’s first birthday. A week later Wendy concludes her cancer conga. When I get back to Arizona I will be spending time cleaning out my apartment, visiting old friends in Tucson and Los Angeles hoping to work in a visit to Taliesin West, and saying goodbye to you. Just writing that makes me tired.
Sometime in that month I will decide whether I will work this coming church year. Already I have decided that full time work is over. Long distance commuting costs too much in time and money. When I retired from my settled post in Grand Rapids I really felt lost for a while. Who was I if not a minister somewhere? Being with you has been the perfect experience for helping me move into my next chapter by choice, not by default.
At their best, relationships help us become better people. More than once I have said that were I not married to Wendy I would be half the man I am, and my children have made me a better man as well.
I am a better minister because of you and the work we did. I tried new ways of serving, leading, worshiping, and found new strength of self and soul in the doing. Not only is this to say thank you but to say that you can do the same for Rev. Sarah as well. Long, healthy ministries evolve over time, so spiritual and professional growth are essential to a long partnership. You can do that by giving her the same room to experiment, to risk, to fail, because this is how people grow.
Fail? Yes. If you think about it, nobody ever learned from success. Only when we fail do we stop and learn why it happened. Experiments that fail to prove a hypothesis are as important as those that ‘succeed.’ Now, making room for failure sounds risky, and it is. But as the bumper sticker says, the real risk is not taking them. Not that you should approve of harebrained ideas, be they hers or yours. Scrutinize, but with affection not judgment. Do not fall into the ‘paralysis of analysis’ which we UUs are very prone to do.
These two years have been one long experiment in some ways, and I know you would like to stop experimenting and get ‘back to normal.’ Resist that as long as you can. As someone said long ago, “Get thee behind me Satan,” meaning the tempter. Or, as a hymn written for the creation of the UUA in 1961 says of our faith, “adventure boldly and explore.” – FW