Hey all, I’ve got a little life update for you this week.
As of January 31, 2023, I resigned my position as Writer-in-Residence at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church which I had held for 12 years. Now, this was a non-stipendiary position, which means they didn’t pay me anything, but they did give me office space, wifi, coffee, use of the copier, a place to store my seminary library, heat (this was very important in the beginning when I lived in a hippie commune and in the winter my room dipped down to 45 degrees making working, thinking, and writing quite difficult) and maybe most important of all (at least, once I moved out of the hippie commune) they gave me collegiality, mentoring, friendship, reality checks, and realistic encouragements to remain a priest, which frankly I have sometimes needed.
There were large swaths of years we functioned as a think-tank and worked on collaborative projects. Some were successes, some were failures, all were incredible learning opportunities for which I am so grateful.
Alas, nothing lasts forever.
The Rector (lead priest) who had invited me and graciously given me all of the above just when I needed it most left over a year ago to lead a church closer to her family of origin, and though I was ready to go as well, I made some promises to stay as long as a I could, knowing at any point the ruling council of that church could squint at my office space and say, ‘Yeah, no. We need that back now.’ And, too, that when the new Rector came, it would be reasonable for them to say, ‘Thank you so much for your service. We can no longer support a Writer-in-Residence.’ I didn’t actually want to make things awkward, nor overstay my welcome, and in their time of transition I made myself useful sometimes on the books, sometimes informally. Which was nice, but inevitably short-lived.
Surprisingly, neither of those asking-me-to-go scenarios came before my promise to stay expired, when the one who asked me to stay released me from my promise.
I left my squashy IKEA couch to the deacon and took the rest of my theological library and knickknacks home, having already done an initial clean out of perhaps ⅓ of the books and ⅘ of the knickknacks sometime right after the former Rector left, and then again when I offered to share the office with the deacon before Christmas, depersonalizing every wall but one, and all the flat spaces.
It’s been two weeks now, and I’ve had time to settle in with my newly consolated workspace at home. My diplomas have been rehung, the rest of my seminary library has been reintegrated or donated, and my schedule is just beginning to settle again.
And so I cosily work from home most of the time, now having even less of a reason to leave the house if it’s not a Sunday. Now I have to manufacture those leave-the-house opportunities. As the weather is getting milder (not something I can count on of course, but that’s global warming for you) I’m planning on walking outside again. And even if there’s another winter storm… it won’t be cold, icy, and overcast here forever, because nothing lasts forever.
Good or bad or in between, nothing lasts forever.