I have been away at the United Methodist Annual Conference this week. No packing till I got home and I gifted myself a room alone at Conference. This is partly escape but partly to grieve. I don't grieve easily with other people around, though I did too much stomping around this week with friends. I was probably not easy to be around. The sadness of this move just gets deeper and deeper.
On the receiving side, however, I met with joy a couple of people I will be getting to know in Fortuna in the next months. I found it odd that they seemed more real, like I had connected with Fortuna, than the people in the interview with whom I had much more time. I don't think this was about the people, but the context. Interviews are skewed somehow. But Jean with a huge smile, Steve and Pat who were so gracious were met without all the decisions attached, more cautious and direct than probing. Interview demands decision -- now. All the emails and phone calls with leaders in the last two weeks are bent on preparing the ground, getting set, getting done. But friendship, and most good ministry, occurs in that tentative place where we wait for trust and let first impressions settle a bit before we come to conclusions. It is perhaps the difference between packing to go, and unpacking to settle in.
Harriet, we still have no idea where we are going. We pack and label boxes for an unknown destination, rooms we can't envision, a home that is still an empty box. The mystery continues.