My heart is breaking...

Almost seven years ago, we left Tucson - but over and over again it keeps calling my name. Three years ago today, Gabby Giffords was shot in the head and six of her constituents were murdered in a Safeway parking lot. Di and I were viewing Mako Fujimura's exhibit in a Soho art gallery based upon his illuminated manuscript celebrating the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.  A young woman who Dianne had mentored in confirmation called us to tell us of the horror.Shortly before we went to this gallery I learned that my predecessor in ministry's son was not only engaged to Gabby's administrative aide, but had been accepted into law school at the University of Arizona.

My friend Mark from Tucson, who once served as moderator of my congregation, came to Pittsfield to preach my installation service as the new pastor. My friends Mark, Larry and Linda came to Tucson for the 30th anniversary celebration of my ordination. And we've been back twice to celebrate the weddings of young people we knew and loved during our days of ministry.  

And now one of my dearest old Tucson friends, Roger, has entered into
hospice. Roger is one of the sweetest, most creative and humble men I have ever known. I worked closely with his wife, Debby, who is another dear friend for 10+ years in ministry. She was my closest ally and most trusted colleague during our time in the desert Southwest. We feasted together, we partied together, we wept and laughed and held one another accountable for stupid bullshit throughout the years together, too. In addition to Linda and Larry - and my band mates in Stranger - leaving Roger and Debby was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my life.

And now my buddy Roger is starting to say good-bye. Generally speaking, the protocol for old clergy is to stay away and maintain very clear boundaries in these kinds of circumstances; after you leave a church, the contemporary rules say that the only ethical path is non-contact. Well, I practice healthy boundaries and support non-intervention once you leave a congregation. And, my friend is dying so I'm going to find a way to go back to Tucson one more time to say good-bye. To share a few beers - and a whole lot of tears - with some of the people who not only sacrificed so much for the ministry we loved but also loved me and my family when we weren't very lovable. It would be just stupid and cruel not to find a way to get back and tell my man Roger how much he changed my life - and how much I love him.

So come hell or high water, we're going to make it happen somehow - and soon! 


Janet Andrews said…
Loving friendships know no bounds. A hug, loving conversation and just being there at this time is who
You are.
Please make the time, share yourself and give your
Forever friends your hug that will last forever.
So sorry for this sadness.
Love & prayers
Janet Andrews
Peter said…
Godspeed, brother.

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