Tonight was my last deacons meeting, preceded by my last staff meeting. For many months Don, Chad (our choir director and organist extraordinaire), and I have met at the local Panera each Tuesday evening at six to eat and discuss whatever we feel like talking about – and some church stuff as well. Our time together has a been an amazing idea factory. I will miss being with them each week.
As I left deacons’ meeting and walked across the parking lot to my car, the reality of this goodbye came to rest on my heart in a way it has not done before. I’m making the move I feel called to make and I’m going to miss these people terribly.
Since I came up to write tonight, I haven’t been able to get past the parking lot. So, I turned to The Writer’s Almanac hoping to find some words that might speak for me. I even read ahead through the poems yet to be broadcast this week. Thursday’s poem is one by Mary Oliver with which I find deep resonance, and so I share it with you. If you are a regular listener to Garrison Keillor’s daily dose of verse, act surprised when he reads it on Thursday.
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
What she said.