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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

A little something light

Things are a bit frenetic here these days. I really don't know where the hours go.

As some of you may have discerned from last Sunday's sermon or read in the comment section, I am leaving St. Paul's, Chatham. My "rights and responsibilities" ended August 1. My tenure ends September 1, 2011.

There's a long story to all this as you might imagine, and I've been journaling like crazy, but I want to do justice to the situation before writing publicly about it.

As I listen to many of my clergy colleagues, I'm finding that my story is, sadly, not uncommon. I want to make sure my analysis is correct so that others may find some things to consider, as well as find some hope for the church in the midst of times that make it difficult to do the work of the gospel.

We'll be moving to Delaware on September 1st, to our wee cottage on Rehoboth Bay. It will be renovated to make it more energy-efficient during the winter months as well as for some aesthetics. I'll be acting as "General Contractor" during most of the Fall, which should keep me out of too much trouble.

I'll be helping out at All Saint's, Rehoboth as well as their wee chapel in the farm country, St. George's. The rector and his wife are dear friends and I'm really looking forward to working with them. It should be great fun to see how much trouble we can get into together - in the Precious Name of Jesus, of course.

I'll be Proctor Fellow at The Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Spring Semester, 2011. After that, I'll just do whatever Jesus tells me to do. (He loves to hear me say that. Makes it sound like I'm so obedient and he's totally in control.)

So, it's packing and sorting and getting rid of "stuff". It's hard, exhausting but ultimately satisfying work.

There is much to learn in this time. I feel as if I'm standing on Holy Ground.

I'm learning that, despite all of my protests to Ms. Conroy's accusations, I really am a bit of a pack rat.

Her rule: "If you haven't used it in the last five years, you don't need it."

Sigh and ugh!

I'm learning that there is a spiritual arrogance to collecting and saving "stuff".

I'm learning that simplicity is an art and a science and I have become a serious student of the School of Humility. It's really, really hard to let go of "my stuff" but that, ultimately, I can not let it define who I am.

My daily mantra is, "I am more than my stuff."

I don't quite believe that yet, but I'm working on it.

I'm learning that memories weigh more than boxes but they are much easier to transport.

I'm re-learning that music is healing, motivating and inspiring. It also carries memories which waft over me, surrounding and comforting me like an old, worn sweater on a cold, dismal day.

Here's a little something from Nickel Creek, called "Lighthouse." It's my gift to myself for today which I share with you.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the imagery this music calls up for you. If lighthouses out in the ocean could sing, I'm sure this would be one of their songs.


Muthah+ said...

Yes, you will throw out much as you pack AND you will throw out even more when you arrive. Trust me!

This is just the end of one chapter in your career, dear friend. God will show you what the next one is.

J. is on her way to lunch with a colleague to plan to teach EFM next fall. I will be going to church Sunday where the rector has asked me to preach. Both of us just fell into these situations in the past week.

Just sit back and enjoy the view for a bit and do your writing thing that you do so well. It is time to let God do God's thing.

word verification: lizest

June Butler said...

Elizabeth, I did not discern that you were leaving St. Paul's. Perhaps I'm not good at reading between the lines.

That the church faces difficult times ahead, I am certain. But, as Jesus said he would never leave us or forsake us, I remain optimistic for the long haul. The period of great change that is upon us will, I believe, be most difficult for the clergy, the persons whose livelihoods depend upon the church.

Congregations must be prepared to be ministers in ways that they have perhaps not done before. But I see much good in the transformation, a coming to the realization of the truth of Jesus' words, "Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."

As for you and Ms Conroy, you go forth with my prayers, blessings, and best wishes to the next chapter of your lives.

susan s. said...

God bless you both on your way, Elizabeth!

Re Stuff; i recommend George Carlin's take on it. And Ms. Conroy has more tolerance than me. Unless it's a family heirloom if it hasn't been used in 2 years it should be put on the curb for some other person to hoard!

Mark Harris said...

You mean to tell me that you will be my neighbor...won't you be my neighbor? Whoooooooweeeeeee. It means we can have coffee just about any time we want, except of course when you are general contracting, working at All Saints / St. Georges, being a Proctor Fellow, and writing wonderful stuff on the blog. But at least there will be a chance more often to just hang out with you and Ms.Conroy and all that.

Hope the move goes easy and your hearts are full.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks to my dear friends for your kind words. I hope I didn't raise any red flags. It was hard to make the decision, but once I did, it was good. I left on Sunday feeling sad but well loved. The standing ovation just about did me in.


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Mark - I AM your neighbor. Always have been, in Jesus.

I'm here until Friday. We moved all the winter coats, sweaters, some of the clothes, and the floor lamps.

Bit by bit we are making progress.

Thanks be to God.

pansyliz said...

i would go so far that this is one chapter in your vocation! What a wonderful time to be open to Jesus (regardless if it is a struggle for control). Best wishes and prayers for your sorting and your opportunity to do so. i did catch the in-between and wondered and figured, over time i would know, if it is something i was suppose to know.

i came to your blog for many reasons and read it everyday. It has been a huge blessing to my theology as i too, have a long story of a decision to move on from a parish position that has greatly impacted me. i am still finding the recovery of that loss in the joys i find in discovering other ways to use the gifts that God has given me

i do wish you the best, the very best. A journey it seems with a few destitations for new discoveries. As odd as this might sound, the theology on the role of contractor might share more than you can imagine. As one example, i marvled at my Aunt and Uncle who built a home in Santa Fe, NM and the level of detail that a contractor must have, reminds me of the scripture where we are told God knows every hair on our head (as found in Matthew 10: several verses and Luke 12:7).

Best wishes and many prayers beginning with my gratitude for one of your gifts-writing.

LFS, liz

Doorman-Priest said...

"If you haven't used it in the last five years, you don't need it."

One year surely?

Congratulations on the new opportunities.

Unknown said...

YES! I love George Carlin and now Doorman Priest! One Year rules!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Just so all y'all know: "Barbara" is "Ms. Conroy."

Her rule is 5 years. FIVE. Not two. Not 1. FIVE.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Maureen said...

Welcome (back) to Delaware, Elizabeth+! I worry about you and Mark Harris plotting together over coffee bust I think that will be a good thing.
Remember, we here in the little First State all know one another so welcome to the club!


Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Is LSD still considered part of "The First State"?