Wednesday, September 30, 2009
When I answered the phone yesterday and the person on the other end identified herself simply as "Beth," something deep down told me it was Jane's daughter. And if it really was, then there could only be one reason the daughter was calling instead of her mother. I knew she was calling me to tell me Jane had died. Jane died last Sunday up in Covington, but when I first met Jane and her late husband, Shep, they were living in Talbotton where I had been assigned as pastor. One of the interesting things about moving about in ministry is the way some folks from the past seem to disappear, but others stay connected. Now that Jane is gone, there is only one other connection that remains with that pastorate in Talbot County. Folks from former pastorates who stay connected with me become very special as the years slip along.
What makes it all the more a relationship of value is the fact that going back where we have been appointed as pastor is never a thing that is encouraged. I have always said to congregations when I leave that I can no longer be a pastor in that place for someone else will have that role, but that a different kind of relationship can be forged. Those who have chosen to stay connected have found a way to do this very thing and it is always such a pleasure to hear their voices or to have time again with them.
I will miss talking to Jane once or twice a year and catching up on family and the twists and turns of life. We are still on the journey she has completed. Her reaching the end of the journey makes me think of others like her in my life and in these days I have been calling their names before the Father with thanksgiving.