all but the party

This Monday morning is different from all other Monday mornings.  This is the Monday morning after the Sunday morning in which I shared my swansong, my final sermon as a minister (at least a full time employed one!).  This is a morning for which I have been steeling myself, aware that it is inevitably one filled with charged emotions.

Yet as I awoke this morning, I was struck only by the round light of the moon and the whisper of yesterday’s promise, “wade in the water, god’s gonna trouble the water.”  It was a gentle promise with which to begin the morning, gentle but strong.  Truth be told the big emotions that have been crashing through my life in recent months seem to be out of the building for now and I am so very grateful for the quiet.

I admit that it was great fun to preach yesterday and at the same time very sorrowful.  Standing before the community and sharing my understanding of the call of faith, week in and week out, has been a privilege that I have deeply enjoyed… until I didn’t.  At the point that it became painful, it was time to step aside.  And my attempts to hold on only intensified the pain.  Yesterday held a magic in that the community was present and wanting to listen, and too that I had something I wanted to share.  This mutuality had been missing and it’s return in the moment was a gracious gift.

Throughout the day yesterday and even this morning I have had random tasks float through my mind, tasks accompanied with familiar anxiety.  Different this morning was what immediately followed, a knowing that the tasks are not mine.  It is no longer my problem if the page breaks in the bulletin are wrong, no longer my fault if a member didn’t receive proper notice of my departure, no longer my concern to prepare the compelling annual report or any other report for that matter.  I have a headful of information, it is true, and when asked I will happily share and I may even share a data dump (or two!); but whether or not any of my knowledge is valued or used is absolutely none of my concern.  And as I set aside each worry, I have experienced an amazing sense of release.

The call of the historic “wade in the water” melody bears witness to the hardest part of the journey, that of moving to the water.  Once in the water, the song promises that “God’s gonna trouble the water”.  The troubled water is a place where not only are our feet refreshed but our scent is lost to the bloodhounds.  From the god-troubled waters, new beginnings are both possible and imminent. Awaking to the sound of yesterday’s song, I feel it’s hope. While I am sure there will be rapids ahead, I am grateful to bear witness to this place in the river where the walking is easy.

Wade in the water, yes.  Wade in the water, children. Wade in the water… god’s gonna trouble the waters.  Yes.