I dreamt of Elizabeth last night. She was dying. I wrapped her in blankets and told her I loved her while her body turned cold and her breathing stopped. It's made my morning difficult. Instead of helping my girls get ready for school my brain is obsessing over Elizabeth. Her smile, how she made me laugh, how she inspired me. Her husband too. Mowing his crazy yard with a rope that tied him to the porch so that he wouldn't fall down the hill. Leonard was quiet but after Elizabeth died we became close too.
Being a pastor was such a blessing. There are so many people that I would not have loved and known had it not been for being their pastor. It's crazy but this morning, I began to wonder who I'm missing out on knowing and loving.
It's a reversal from my first year of ministry. At the end of my first year of full time ministry, Janis, a woman I dearly loved died unexpectedly. I never thought I'd get over having to do her funeral. I was angry with God. Why had I been called to love and care for people only to have them die and to say good-bye. Janis was my mom away from home.
It seemed cruel. And now I miss it. I miss pastoral visits, listening, praying, and loving people I'd otherwise never know.
I've been remembering "church" leading, preaching, teaching. I've been glad to leave ministerial alliance meetings, annual conference, and the politics of church. Today, I've remembered the very hard and yet wonderful things of loving and caring and even saying good-bye.
Maybe one day I'll get to be the pastor again. For now, I'll love and care for the people entrusted to my care at CASA. Hopefully there won't be nearly as many good-byes.