Beyond saying goodbye to 2008, December saw many endings in my life. I left my job at the University of Pittsburgh of 29 years. I finished my student ministry at the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh. My divorce became final. I should not be surprised to feel overwhelmed by all of the changes cascading down upon me.
Yet, I feel excited about the direction of my life. As I sit in my dorm room at seminary in Chicago preparing for classes, I feel that exhilaration that you feel once you have committed irrevocably to jumping off a diving board (or a cliff in my case!). What’s so very cool about this feeling is that all the fear and apprehension just fades away. Left is the adrenaline rush and the calm of knowing that everything is ahead of me, for good or bad.
Even though the next couple of years holds incredible unknown, one thing I do know is that hundreds of people support me and want to see me succeed in my journey toward ministry. The generosity expressed by people in my life has been overwhelming at times. A dear friend from Pitt gave me a Tibetan singing bowl – something I have always wanted – with an absolutely gorgeous tone. A church colleague, who has already given me so much in the past, gave me a Ugandan fiber bowl that is attractive and utilitarian. A congregant gave me his paperback copy of Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country, a book that has been on my “to-read” list forever. I immediately read it and was amazed by Paton’s simple, yet expressive prose. A long-time friend gave me a new coffee maker to take to New York for my internship this year, now that I am hooked on fresh ground. And, the other day, one of the first youth I taught in religious education classes (now married and finishing her doctorate) gave me an incredible, hand-made stole. It is blue and gold (Pitt colors) and has an embroidered image of First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh to always remind me of my roots.
These gifts of enormous generosity are the clearest signs to me that I am on the right path. And I know that the gratitude I feel from all of the people in my life will only improve my ministry in the future.