By now, it’s become social-media official: as of August 1, I am leaving Flagstaff for the flatlands of the mid-Midwest, and a new call in Kansas City, Missouri. I will be the Assistant Rector, and Day School Chaplain at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City.
Have Red Shoes, Will Move to the Midwest
I am excited about this, I really am. The new parish is awesome. They announced my birthday on Facebook with a math riddle. They think my social media habits are amusing, and not terrifying. When I shrieked like a toddler over discovering that the start of the Oregon Trail video game was actually in Kansas City, which meant that MY OXEN TEAM WAS NOT DEAD YET, OH MY GOSH, they did not count this against my obvious maturity and ability to be a functioning ordained person in God’s one, holy, and apostolic church. (Gold star. Seriously.) And they also have an amazing commitment to outreach and social justice, and sense of humor, and I can’t wait to work with them.
But while I’m thrilled to start this new chapter, this also means I have to leave. And I do not care for leaving. Leaving means goodbyes, goodbyes imply loss.
Leaving is never pleasant.
For one thing, because moving requires me to truly come to grips with how many shoes and books I own, and reveal that information to unsympathetic movers. (When I moved to Flagstaff, the mover made me promise to never move to a walkup higher than first floor again. Or else sell every single book I owned, “because, lady, this is excessive”)
But most especially because leaving a place that I have liked as much as this one is never easy.
The quirky, sweet parishes, the supportive and wise ministry colleagues, and the amazing, inspiring students, who have all conspired to make this job a joy-filled one each day, and who have taught me so much about persistence and bravery, faith and community.
I have been blessed beyond words to have been the chaplain here in Northern Arizona for the past few years, and part of the story of this place. Now the story of the chaplaincy here moves on, and my own story moves on.
But the wonder of stories like this is that they never end, not truly, and nothing is really lost. As God spins out our stories, they carry forward all the fragments of who and where we were before, into the future that God envisions.
So the imprints of the people we meet, the experiences we have are never far–even as we move on. It always gets woven in to the next chapter, and the next and the next after that.
Whatever exactly comes next, it will be an adventure. But I also know that this adventure will be accompanied by the mischievous love of God, which is nothing if not adventurous, and possessed of a better sense of humor than I ever will be.
So here I go!