Finding a new church that Mike and I could attend together following retirement has been top priority. We attended another United Methodist church several times during the past year, when Mike took a vacation Sunday. However, the first Sunday after our last Sunday was so difficult. We went to the early service at our new church, and then I told Mike that I needed to go back to 'my church' for one of the services. That idea was fine with him, so off I went -- slipping in after the service began, sitting on a bench against the wall of the sanctuary, and then leaving when the last hymn began. I cried the whole time, wondering if coming back was making the adjustment harder or easier.
During successive Sundays, I have followed the same pattern -- returning for one of the services at 'my church.' I realize that I will have to make the change gradually. I just cannot walk away from people whom I have loved and have loved me for fifteen years. Right now, I have to care for myself and my grief. I know that these feelings are temporary so I am trusting God to give me strength and guidance for the days ahead.
God, there are many clergy families who are experiencing changes -- new appointments bring moves and moves can be challenging. Remind all of us that you are in everything that happens, even grief and change. Increase our awareness of your presence so that at all times we can be nourished in your love. Amen.