In the past two weeks, I have had the privilege of playing the songs of my heart with some of the people who are dearest to my soul. One of the highlights of Tucson was a Friday night soirée with some of the key players in our old band during that decade - plus a few new friends. In addition to paying homage to the Cranberries' Dolores O'Riordan with "Linger," we revisited the core song of that era: "Lord prepare me to be a Sanctuary" with Pete and John and Don E, Dianne and Linda weaving their harmonies together while CB played her fiddle.
Last night, at another farewell to parish ministry party, my family gathered with the long time core members of this decade's band, plus Charlie on sax and Jon on percussion. In addition to "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" and "One Voice," we were able to call up E's favorite: "Come to Jesus" by Mindy Smith. And the hijinks kept going til way past midnight.
Singing those songs - and being with people whose hearts touched mine profoundly during the past twenty years - gave me the perspective I needed to fully embrace gratitude in retirement. And then today after lunch, my children presented me with a stunning visual retrospective of these years. I was moved to tears. There was also a gift of original art, too that is breath-taking.
This month of celebration, vacation and reflection has been more than I ever imagined. It was blessing upon blessing. So I'm not going to do ANYTHING churchy during February except maybe go to Taize with L'Arche Ottawa and share in a small Eucharist. Mostly I am going to start playing a LOT of music. I need to sort through a ton of files that go back to undergraduate school, too.
At sometime during the last month, I was asked if I was through with church? My 86 year old former Sunday School teacher asked me something similar today before lunch. I replied: I'm not finished walking with Jesus - I never will be - and hope to walk with him forever when this race is done. But I AM finished with all the bullshit. He smiled and said softly: Good for you. That's what I came up with in my life, too.
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