Saturday, May 30, 2015

Together in Spirit

The place Dan and Donne reside in my heart and how we are connected via Spirit
Soon, I will have to release another sacred friend and Quaker minister from my life and heart. The first time, seven years ago, was traumatic. Dan had been my friend, monthly sharing a cup of tea when my kids were little, stumbling over them as they grew and even writing a message (short sermon) about the time when Autumn, just potty trained, offered to sit and hold his hand while he used the bathroom. "Everything I learned about ministering, I learned from Autumn," I think he titled it.

Dan was VERY hard to let go of because he was the first person whom I could trust to talk about deep spiritual things, like the time I drove home from the Quaker Meeting and felt every red light and reflector glare at me as if evil or when I confessed I wasn't sure who Jesus was to me and he responded, "Me, either."

In the last year or so, we have gotten back in touch and it has been a joy. Over time, I learned to understand that the complete separation was necessary.

Necessary so I and my Meeting could establish rapport with a new minister, who happened to be Donne. I had been tasked with serving on a selection committee when, suddenly and separately, two people became acquainted with a recent Earlham School of Religion (Quaker) graduate serving a Unitarian congregation part-time. I met Donne on her first interview and was physically moved by Spirit to know she was the one for us. I was so convinced that, when our selection committee met in worship, I felt my heart being squeezed and knew Spirit was offering Donne as a gift. The person next to me said she had felt it as well. So clear that I stood aside, as Quakers say, and removed myself from the committee so they could continue their work. I would not change my mind. Another Friend was equally certain the search should continue. Eventually, Donne was hired.

Now, her cycle has ended. In a rare spate, I've missed three weeks of worship and touch with what is happening in my Meeting. I called Donne this afternoon, driving home from my new job. I wanted to catch her up on what was going on and suggest that, because of the new situation, I may not make all of the ministry retreat this weekend. She told me she was was tied up in a transaction and would call back.

Intuitively, I knew she was buying the RV she had mentioned months ago. She had dreamed of traveling. However, I hadn't quite made the connection that she was leaving.

We caught up earlier this evening at the retreat, which Dan was also scheduled to attend. Coincidence? Donne got a call a week ago that the simple-but-popular RV she wanted had walked onto the lot, did she want it? Yes, she'd said. If not, three others were in line behind her.

It's her time to be free. "Sounds like you've been released," I said, instantly recognizing that my ministry has been given the same message in the last week.

In her exit letter, Donne writes "... I must let go of you and ask you to let go of me. In other words, I have been your minister–a friendly one, I hope–but now someone else will be called to be your minister ... I will miss you deeply and love you always."

"Can I do this again, God? This is the second person I've counted on to discuss deep things I rarely share with others. Dan and Donne have both seen the real me and have helped me see it in myself."

Yet, I know her cycle is over and it is time for her to move on from her ministry and into the unknown just as I am. Separated, but together, we will trust Spirit to guide us. That will always unite us.

• How do I say goodbye?
• Who was the first person with whom I could have profound spiritual discussions?
• How do I value that gift?
• How have I learned to let go?
• How do I trust Spirit in my own life and in others I love?

she came in on
a whisp

arriving just
as we needed her

like Mary Poppins

as we grieved our
previous loss,

we saw she possessed
different gifts

gifts we sorely 

she had this way
of flowing in and
around like water

she was needed

showing us the way

as Spirit is showing
her now,

only in a direction
a part from us

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