So...I have 3-and-a-half weeks left in my internship.
I'm sorry, what? Four Sundays left - what happened to the last 48? It's strange looking back at the year, as I realize that when I got here, I said, "Oh, I know the year is just going to fly by," and now I'm noticing that, um, indeed it did.
There was a time after Easter where it seemed to drag a little, but since Pentecost, it's been crazy. What happened?
I'm going to miss the people here, I really am. One of the struggles of this one-year internship is that, at least for people like me (introverts unite?), it takes about 9-12 months to really get to know people and get comfortable with them, to feel like I've built relationships and have a good idea of where I really fit in the community. So just as I'm finally feeling settled in, it's time to leave.
Also, I'm a bit of a long-term planner, and the anxious part of me is feeling like I really need to get on the stick about thinking about Advent, and getting ready for possibly working with a "different" lectionary, rather than the RCL. And then I stop and realize that it's not my job to plan Advent for this congregation this year, and if they're going to start a new lectionary in September, it's not really my concern. Weird, just...weird.
It's been a good year, but a hard year. As a community, we have suffered through a lot. Insane amounts of snow and cold, and then insane amounts of rain. We have more water than we know what to do with. (Texas peeps: want some?) Then it was ridiculously hot. As in "too hot to do anything but draw the shades and turn on the AC and sit still." And humid. As in "every surface you touch is wet because of the condensation" humid.
There have been a lot of deaths, and a lot of hard pastoral situations. Lots of terrible diagnoses, lots of broken relationships, lots of people making bad decisions.
But there have been births and baptisms. There has been love, and care, and support. The Holy Spirit has been here through it all, and people have laughed and prayed and lived their way through it. We all have.
There have been moments that made me laugh - when one of our little girls ran into my office after the Good Friday service (as the whole rest of the church was silent), handed me a paper-plate Easter bunny she made, with a joyful "Here, this is for you!" and then ran right back out. There have been moments that made me cry - when one of our parishioners, who is newly blind, made his first unassisted trip up to the communion rail. The person helping me distribute communion that day is rarely in church (I think generally he's only there when it's his turn to usher or whatever), and not very familiar with the parishioner's situation and abilities. But after giving him the bread, the Body of Christ, and then stepping aside, I watched to make sure that the wine, the Blood of Christ, was well-received (so to speak). What I saw brought me to tears: the Communion Helper took such great care with the man, the glass, and the whole process, it was just astonishingly beautiful. I don't even know how to describe it.
There are so many stories to tell, things to remember, that I don't even know where to start. I'm sure they will come in bits and pieces, as I reflect and grow from this year. There are things that are totally hilarious, and things that are horrifying. Moments of great beauty, and places of struggle. Times of birth, and of death. And yet, God remains. Always.
Man, it has gone fast. So fast. In so many ways, I am ready to go back - to friends, to the classroom, to the city, to Starbucks and Sonic. And in other ways, I am nowhere near ready to leave. Not when I've just now started to figure things out. Not when I know how I would start to move this place forward, while loving them where they're at. Not when these people are so great, and I love them, and they love me.