Beth and I have been trying to find the right metaphor for our farewell. It’s not the sort of angry or hurt departure one sometimes associates with a divorce.
It certainly doesn’t have the finality of death! It’s not the joyous celebration of a birth or marriage. The image we’ve settled on is a mutual graduation.
A graduation is a bittersweet time. We celebrate accomplishments and a bright future, but we also are a little saddened by the passage of time and the necessary farewells. That’s the way we are looking at this transition, and we hope it’s a helpful image for others, too.
A graduation is also a time of offering support and well wishes, and already Beth and I are so overwhelmed by the love and generosity you have shown us. In the spirit of our upcoming graduations, then, I’d like to have some chances to speak with you at various times and spaces. I’ll be staying after church for the remaining Sundays so you can find me in the sanctuary for a few moments of conversation or prayer. Feel free to call or email me to schedule a time for me to visit you. In addition, Beth and I would like to host a “drop-in” gathering at our house this Saturday, January 16, from 2 to 4 pm. There’s no need to RSVP, but if you need directions, our number is 964-9212. There is certainly no obligation for you to stop by – we just want to make sure we have a chance to speak with as many of you as possible.
We plan to remain in Charlottesville for the foreseeable future. We hope that these farewells are not the last word. After a graduation, classmates don’t see one another or their teachers every day, but they are pleased to see one another on special occasions or at chance meetings. We will always be happy to see you.