I am mourning the transition from student to “pastor.’ I can smell the air that surrounded my dorm room for three years. I can taste the cool water flowing from the fountain in the basement of Currie. I close my eyes and see the parking lot and trees caressing the view from my window.
I miss it terribly. I close my eyes and walk the 422 steps to the Crown and take a seat at a table with friends. We discus the exams and papers we write and study for. We order a pitcher of Shiner and a burger. We laugh and lament these days.
Having heard the lament of previous classes I chose to not believe I would ever leave Austin. I found a home there. In Austin I arrived and was carved into who I am today.
When I arrived in Austin the hot August day in 2005 I was lost and afraid. I feared I would not have friends and would not fit in. I steadied myself to a life of solitude and “keeping my nose clean.” I could not have imagined that I would leave married to my best friend and holding such longing for a time and place as I do now.
I feel like I have lost a large part of my soul and struggle to cope with it. I write this with tears peaking from my eyes and a lump in my throat. I can barley stand to remember the people I left as it hurts deeply. I pray I am going to wake up and discover that we will all be back t the end of August and meet up for a pint and conversations on how our summers went.
I giggle now as I remember the fun times. The dance of islanders, the late night exploration of Mexican cuisine, the movies at the Drafthouse, the riding of bikes in hallways, the expletive filled rants about the church, the table talk, and most of all the late night study sessions in the dinning hall. I could never have known what it would mean to me to walk that walk with those folks. I am honored that I did and that we all did it as a community. I laugh because it was great.
Can such a community be had again? What I experienced in seminary is what I envision the church to be. That is the worshiping community I want to be a part of. I want to shepherd a community that longs to be with itself to go into the community to walk with each other, to love the shite out of each other. I long for a place to be, a place that is like Austin. To me Austin is the City of God, as it molded me into the leader I am. The coward I am. The creature I am. I did not get all this for free. I paid the price. I left a huge piece of my heart there in Austin.
It is like your first love. Can I love again? Is it safe to love? Do I want to love to be hurt when it all fades away?
Friends, today I mourn for tomorrow I shall celebrate a new beginning. There is a place in this world for loving communities of faith that walk in vulnerability, honesty, compassion, sacrifice, and in culturally relevant ways. I endeavor to be a part of such a community. Yes, I will love again. It is all I can do love though the pain into the arms of Jesus the Christ.
Thanks be to God!