Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Looking Ahead

What's worse, knowing a goodbye is coming or when it steals upon you unawares?

I'm struggling with the impending retirement of Fr M. I know it can happen as soon as March, as late as June, but I am going to be utterly lost without him. You would think that I spent more time with him than I actually do, which leads me to think that I will actually survive his departure, but I can’t ignore the resulting devastation his departure, as inevitable as it is, will be.

Ever the pragmatist, he was up there on the pulpit last Sunday, reminding us all that our faith, or our attending to our faith, is not about the homilist or our relationship with him, but it’s about hearing the word of God and our relationship with God, regardless of who is delivering the lines.

Yeah, but. He is irreplaceable. Just like everyone else I have ever lost.

Which brings me round to the big reminder—we are all eventually history. We all eventually die, and we leave behind people who love us, think about us, cherish our memories—maybe. I’ve been losing and missing people for so long that it’s just a matter of course. But those really deep connections, for as rewarding as they are, are those losses most deeply and bitterly felt when they happen.

I’m not sure which is harder, seeing the end coming from a distance, or its sudden appearance at your front door.

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