Interim Ministry

So Long, Farewell

In the car yesterday, Mary Beth and Light Princess and I listened to the Original Broadway Cast recording of "The Sound of Music," with Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel. My parents had the record when I was a little girl, and it was among the ones I took out of the dust covers, placed artistically on our family room rug and walked on in my little bare feet. I remember that they felt marvelously cool and smooth to the touch. I also remember that record in particular had a lot of skips, probably from my girl-handling of it. I memorized every non-skipped note on the record and didn't learn what they should have sounded like, really, until I bought the CD about ten years ago.

What is still true is that my favorite song in the musical is "So Long, Farewell." I can play the whole thing out in my mind, with the voices from the record and the voices and images from the movie. Marta hates to miss this pretty sight; Friedrich bids adieu; Liesl hopes for champagne; Kurt hits the high note; Brigitta cannot tell a lie; Louisa flits and floats and fleetly flees and flies; and Gretl, of course, tells us "the sun has gone to bed and so must I."

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehn, goodbye.

When I was 18, I spent three weeks staying at the Schloss Leopoldskron outside Salzburg, the place the outdoor patio and glass house scenes in the movie were filmed. My dad, along with other law school deans and then-Justice Rehnquist, taught a seminar for European lawyers at Harvard's Salzburg Seminar. All the participants brought their children along, and we had a fantastic time together, heightened for me by my lifelong love for the von Trapps and the scenes from the movie. We climbed mountains and visited locations from the movie and hung out in the glass house and just generally had a wonderful time. In the evenings, one of the European lawyers played the piano and people sang, and I was one of them.

(And if there was a red-headed friend of the son of one of the other law school deans who passed through on a backpacking trip and caught my attention, that was not the only reason the memories are magical, but it didn't hurt.)

I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye. Good bye!

It's time to say farewells at the 1FP. This will be my last Sunday with them, and next week I'll pack my books and clean out my files. I could not fix everything I hoped to fix. Can we ever? I leave certain things wide open and undetermined. I prepare to bid farewell to some people I will never see again, though I will not forget them.

I flit, I float, I fleetly flee, I fly.

I'm already deep into my next job, at Y1P. I won't have the sharp transition of leaving one place and starting at another. But it's still hard, and it leaves me wondering about people who spend a career doing Interim Ministry, years and years of arriving already intending to leave. I'm happy to be at Y1P, which is a wonderful congregation, and I've loved the people at 1FP, but truly? I wish my life would have not quite so many farewells.

11 thoughts on “So Long, Farewell”

  1. I wish you all the same grace you’re displaying here at your new job–and I know that your work must be creating fond memories among congregants, who’ll be thinking of you, sometimes, as they walk down a hall, or have a hymn tune in their head, or catch a phrase that sometimes reminds them of you.

  2. I’m doing the so long farewell bit here….and it is hard.
    I hope you can find a place to stay for a while!

  3. I wish for you a bit of quiet time to recall and recuperate. It’s stressful saying farewell…

  4. Thinking of you going through the tranistions of leaving one congregation while continuing at another.
    I love reading your memories of childhood trips!

  5. Saying goodbye is always hard, but being able to do this with grace is a gift. Cherish it.

  6. Transitions are tough, but you navigate them with grace. Prayers in abundance to you…
    *now I can’t get that song out of my head*

  7. You know a Facebook friend warned me that you would get this song in my head!
    Here’s to a safe journey and a healthy transition.

  8. Leaving and starting anew is never easy, but it means there are more and more people who will be exposed to your goodness–I hope they appreciate it!

  9. oh my… i hope a song stays in your heart. i think ministry in general is thataway… we arrive not knowing how long we will be there, but perhaps knowing in our heart it won’t be forever. or maybe that’s just what i’m feeling where i am… knowing full well a transition looms large…

  10. Saying goodbye is tough, but you sound as though you are managing to do so with your usual grace.
    (Do you get BBC America on your tv? They’re currently re-running “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria”, in which they attempt to cast an unknown to play Maria in a 2006 West End production of Sound of Music … I think you’d like it.)

Comments are closed.