I hate when people leave.
I have always been the person who leaves. This was not my doing--my family moved every 2 years on average and I went with them. When I got to college, met Bixby, and settled into my place, I swore I would never leave. At least not without major personal disaster. Because that can happen. But I wasn't going to move for a better neighborhood or house, I wasn't going to leave just because the future looked bright in some other city. I was going to stay.
Which means other people leave.
Today at my church, my lovely parish church with a hundred years of staying put right where it is, Sr. Hildegarde got up and made an announcement that began with a reference of standing on the edge of a large body of water and knowing you have to jump in, but it will get easier once you take the plunge.
And I thought...I really thought...she's going to make me do something.
Because Sister is always making me do something. Always. She is very persuasive and knows who I am and knows what I'm good at and always gets me to do something. This is often annoying but always good. It's always right to make a banner for church or help clean on a Wednesday afternoon or call a convent to see if they have extra fabric or go hunt down Christmas trees or run children's liturgy or attend RCIA sessions or whatever it is. It's always something and it's always a good idea and it always makes me do something.
I thought it was going to be, "you all are going to take a plunge into a new program devised by the archdiocese to do _______."And I was going to wind up going to meetings.
I know, a little cynical. But I also was sitting there knowing that I would already be doing it. I would. I love my church and my place and I knew I would do whatever it was and think my way into and out of it.
Instead she announced that she's moving. To Texas. At the end of the summer. Oh no.
I realized in the seconds that followed, the moments when she said things that were probably highly complementary to our church and people, the things I have no idea what they might have been because I was realizing this instead, I realized in those next moments that she has been one of the constants in my return to my faith as an adult. And in that moment, it was sort of devastating.
It's so funny--I sometimes stress out about the day that will come when Fr. Miguel will move on to another parish and then what will happen at my church? In my life? But I never considered her departure. I mean, people leave and retire and die and whatnot, but it isn't as written in stone like pastors, the arbitrary moving, shifting around of important folks.
So she's leaving, going home, and things will change and here we will be. And it won't be the same and that'll be ok and we'll be fine.
But we will miss her.
I will miss the times when she introduces me and calls me a "young mother in the parish".
I will miss the moments when, at a meeting, creativity becomes a person at the table with us and we plan something beautiful.
I will miss the constant striving to improve on what we've done. The best thing about Sister is that she never, ever, ever, ever says, "well, this is the way we've always done it, so..." unless the second half of that sentence is "we're going to change it."
I will miss her positive assumptions that we can pull things off and make things beautiful and make them work and try again when they don't.
But I won't miss our friendship because the world is a smaller place than it once was and I assume we will remain friends. That's what the internet is for, right?
Like I told my students when they graduated and headed out into the world: Go. Be good. Do good. And come back sometime and let me know how it goes.