Yesterday was the day where all the pastors in the United Methodist church stay or move to their next appointment, this means is the day they will have to teach their first sermon in their new church. For most of them this change is something they have been looking forth because it is an opportunity to keep growing as individuals, but also in the ministry they have decided to do when they took the call to become pastors. Some of them do not get to be moved; they stayed in the same church they have been serving for one, two or nine years.
This happened to me for the last nine years, every year I will talk to my boss and a group of lay people would recommend me to keep being the pastor of Connection, the bilingual congregation I started. But yesterday, well yesterday was very different to me; in a sense I knew this day was going to arrive, but I do not think I was prepared for the emotional emptiness and shock of finding myself in this situation. Yesterday I did not teach my first sermon of the year, neither realized that I was going to be serving one more year. Yesterday for me was the day I became churchless and jobless for the first time in almost 20 years.
I changed the pulpit to the awkward sensation of finding myself soaring in an unknown space without knowing where I will end up. I changed the setting of teaching the word of God inside of a faith community, to leave behind the doors of a church, and be a teacher in every moment of my life, without walls to enclose me, or institutions to rule over me. In a way there is a sense of liberation and freedom, but at the same time there is this immense sadness, and incredible lost of something that I cannot describe it, but most of the time it is an invitation to my tears to come out and share their power of melancholy.
I cannot say they were horrible years, because I would be lying. Twenty years serving the church is half of my life; a lifetime full of all kind of adventures, moments of joy, sadness, anger, frustration, hope and many more feelings that I cannot count and not even describe. The most valuable gifts I got from all these years were the many friends I met; the many people that touched my heart, and hopefully I was able to touch theirs. I do not regret these years at all, because I am who I am now, because of the many people I met. When I think about them, the only thing I can do is smile, and be thankful for being able to have enriched my life with so many beautiful people. Even those whom I had problems, and our friendship ended up abruptly, or the ones I chose to let go, or they even decided to let me go; even them taught me and helped me to become a better person.
But, hey! I am still a human being, raw in his foundations, so I cannot but to feel this sense of a mighty lost, and I do not really understand why. For the last three years being a pastor became a very strong burden to handle; especially because these were the years were I was trying to accept myself and come out as someone who finally was able to celebrate the beauty of his life. So I am sitting in my favorite coffee shop, holding these mischievous tears trying to come out and slide down through my face, while I keep hearing a small voice saying: “It will be ok Miguel, it will be ok”.
And as I hold my heart to not losing it completely, I let my heart leave into the unknown world, into the uncertainty of a life I cannot control. Where am I going? Where would I be working? With whom I would end up in my life? What doors would be open and which ones would be closed? I do not know any of these answers, and even though it could be scary, I am not. I think I am in the best moment of my life because I have in front of me a white canvas ready to be painted, and let me tell you God, who is my father and mother, is the artist, and not me. So I am just waiting for Him-Her to start creating, and oh my!! I know it will be good!…I just hope He did not forget to buy the paintings. Or what if She has a digital camera? What if the canvas is broken? Or what if it rains and the work is ruined? STOP IT Miguel, “everything will be ok”.