My reflections on retirement have become an extended exercise. It is my hope that they prayerfully honor both the close of my ordained days while openly exploring emerging possibilities. Some may have already grown weary of this written pilgrimage. It wears me out at times, too. After all, I have been on this road for 30 odd months and am only now claiming a measure of clarity. For while the close of the ordained chapter is set - Sunday, January 28, 2018 during 10:30 am worship - what is to follow is only now beginning to take shape and form.
Last night at dinner with dear friends in a favorite local eatery, someone said, "You two look GREAT!" On the drive home, Di amplified this observation with: "I am really eager to see you after January comes and goes and you finally lay this burden down." Moi aussi mes amis mais il y a un travail important à faire avant de lâcher! A few commitments still remain that are energizing, vital and of possible significance to our wider community:
+ After last Sunday's forum on racism, sexism and antisemitism, and the critique that younger voices are still not at the table, a poetry slam has been proposed for sometime before the end of this calendar year. I am charged to see this come to pass. Our younger local artists have insights and wisdom the wider community needs to hear and embrace. These artists need affirmation and encouragement, too. Stay tuned as this is a fast moving train with exciting possibilities.
+ In early January 2018, I have two music projects that are coming into
focus: one involves marking the one year anniversary of the Four Freedoms March and the other hosting a salon with my brother from another mother Hal Lefferts. The Four Freedoms anniversary portends to be an interfaith gathering of artists and musicians sharing songs, poems and dance as an act of solidarity with our African American and immigrant sisters and brothers in Pittsfield. My hope is that this will be a time of joyful and creative resistance to the rising white supremacist hatred that continues to rear its ugly head in America. The white community must stand up and be counted and this is one of the ways I can help. The salon - and worship time with Hal- is an experiment in sharing truth-telling about this moment in time through song. We'll hold a dialogue in music and spoken word during my sermon time then invite folk back to our home a few hours later for a house concert. During the private gathering, we can go deeper into the meaning and response of Hal's beautiful and insightful compositions. (This is a particular joy for me!)
+ In December, I will have the privilege of sharing one final Advent with this faith community - and my final Christmas Eve, too. That will be a tender and even bitter sweet time for me. For while we've had our differences over the past few years - and grown in quite different directions - our love is deep and what we have shared has been sacred. I love this community and its people as I have learned to love the Body of Christ in Saginaw, Cleveland and Tucson. They will always be a part of my heart.
+ I will also be building my on-going relationship with L'Arche Ottawa during this time of transition. In November there is a formation retreat. In December a chance to share supper in community and some acts of service, too. After the New Year arrives and we sort out how often I can be in the North Country, it is my deepest hope to work out a regular schedule where I can volunteer. My heart has been warmed beyond my understanding by L'Arche Ottawa and I am eager to see where the Spirit leads us together. By summer of 2018 I suspect we'll have greater clarity.
And then there is all the other time for music making with Hal and friends and being with my grandchildren! Two years ago I participated in an on-line retreat and shared a photo of our old garden gazebo. The wetlands behind the house was shrouded in fog and one of the spiritual directors said: this suggests a mystical portal into a time of mystery and new beginnings. She was right and now I have stepped through it: Que le pèlerinage continue!
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