One of the realities I am beginning to experience since choosing to move into full retirement (and not part-time ministry which is a misnomer if ever there was one) is an odd mixture of grief and relief. My grief has multiple levels: I regret the things left incomplete, the sorrow over the times I failed to deliver, the sadness in leaving cherished members without trusted pastoral care and so much more. At the same time, I know in my soul that this is the right time to let go - and my heart feels one hundred pounds lighter. As I've realized before, there truly IS a time for all things under heaven.
One aspect of feeling liberated has to do with letting go of fretting. Oh, I am certain I will find replacements, but a lifelong pastoral dilemma has been worrying about stupid administrative decisions. I've made more than my fair share over 35 years. I have learned how rushing towards unreflective efficiency can become trouble, too. Especially when I sense that theological consideration and waiting upon the Lord has been abrogated. Such is the human condition, yes? But now I am starting to practice letting it go. it has been - and will continue to be - the challenge of my existence.
Yesterday, however, while driving into a late afternoon blazing sun, I listened to Jennifer Warnes' exquisite take on Leonard Cohen's "Joan of Arc." It is operatic in ways that I've missed before. It is cathartic, too. So as unexpected tears ran down my face, I sang along from some place long buried deep within, from the safety of my rental car.
Now the flames they followed Joan of Arc
As she came riding through the dark;
No moon to keep her armor bright,
No man to get her through this very smoky night.
She said, I'm tired of the war,
I want the kind of work I had before,
A wedding dress or something white
To wear upon my swollen appetite
It really IS time to let it go.
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