I’m recovering from packing up my office today. I gave my keys to a member of the Ministry of Property, not because I had to do it today, but because she was there using the copier and it seemed I might as well. I don’t really want to go back into my little garret again. I’m feeling quite sad about leaving and trying to manage that sadness with a dose of denial and a measure of distraction.
All my books and the files that need to go with me (mostly sermons) are boxed and in our garage awaiting their trip to a new home on Monday morning. I’m so used to turning left at the end of the street, I wonder what it will feel like to turn right and get on the highway instead? Where will I pick up the cup of coffee for the road? All this is yet to be discovered.
In the living room, #1 Son and Dos giggle as they watch a DVD of the British version of The Office. Having a girlfriend visit is new for us. We have loved her presence here. For three days I have been calling the guest room "Dos’s room," and it is joking, but it is truthful, as she seems to have made a place here already. I remember wondering what it would be like to share him with someone he really loved; it works, and it is good.
We walked the dogs around the neighborhood this afternoon and stopped at the schoolyard of Big Red Dog Elementary School when a little girl asked to pet them. My children are older, and I am content to be past that phase, particularly when I see mothers in my general age bracket chasing three-year-olds around the playground. That part of my life has passed into memory. But the neighborhood, with its sidewalks made uneven by the roots of old trees, is still ours. It reminds me of the walks of my childhood in Jane Austen’s Village, so long ago and far away, and perhaps those old bricks influence my love of the streets in this place.
There are things about Small Church I will take with me everywhere I go. The things I learned, the mistakes I made, the people I have loved will all inform the person and the pastor I will be, just as the times #1 Son and I spent sharing things we enjoyed formed him as a relational person. The things we may never do together again are part of who we both are, not lost, but treasured. I have a sense of integration, not of loss. I know I will feel this way about Small Church, too, but not quite yet.