I spent yesterday with the pastor I'm going to replace. He's a delightful man, so caring and humorous. He tells wonderful stories and he is trying to make the transition as smooth as possible for me.
We met for breakfast and then he took me around to the shut-ins and nursing homebound. Everywhere we went he introduced me as, "This is your new pastor." And everywhere we went, tears were shed and prayers were offered by the two of us.
He also introduced me to the folks we will need to know to make our life in Small Town easier: The mechanic, the postmistress, the waitress at Frosty J's, the Nursing Home Administrator and Chaplain. The Chaplain Hubby and I already know - because these appointments are not that far from where we spent our first appointments out of seminary - 13 years worth. It was good to see him again and to renew our friendship.
In many ways, this appointment feels like "coming home." I know the area well. I know the social games. I know what's important to these Small Town persons. I even know two of my shut-ins well; I've known them since I was a young woman in my 20s. They, however, do not remember me because they are in their 90s and their memories have faded away. But, the personalities I remember of them are still intact.
I am grateful to God that yesterday went well. The people I met were nothing short of gracious and affirming to me. They welcomed me with hugs and dismissed me with hugs and kisses. After being so battered around at CINS, I feel the extent of my wounds and their healing starting to take place.
It won't be all sugar and light, I know. But for now I am at peace with it all.