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Reflection- 28 October 2016

October 28, 2016

The last ten days have been a whirlwind… a class on Practicing Sabbath at our beloved “thin place”, Montreat Conference Center in North Carolina… 

Followed by some time with Denise’s dear sister-in-law Lynn and her husband Scott in Atlanta…

Then we heading to Minnesota and my folks…

Moving out of their “forever” home has been incredibly difficult for them both. We moved into this house the summer of 1967. Dad had been transferred from California to Minnesota earlier that same year and they rented a house close to the church that would become a pivotal place in my own faith development (Westminster Presbyterian Church where Rev Morgan was my pastor and later mentor, colleague, and friend who took part in my ordination in September of 1987).

1002 Ninth Street NW was their home for over 49 years. As Denise and I helped with the final packing and storing of their collection, my heart and mind were flooded with so many memories… This maple 🍁 tree (below) symbolizes so much of that adventure.

I don’t know exactly what year, but as a young elementary student, I discovered a wee seedling growing from a “helicopter” seed. Dad and I nurtured it, potted, and repotted it over the spring and summer. By the following Spring (we covered it in the winter so the snow wouldn’t overwhelm it), we transplanted it from the pot to the place where it now flourishes!

The tree has been through a lot and yet it has grown! Just like the home that Mom and Dad made for the three of us beginning in 1967, it continued to grow and provide shade and peace for us. When Denise and I locked the door for the final time, my heart was a mess!

We moved into the house just before my 7th birthday and 49 years later, this picture captured your Padre with a very full heart (and wet eyes!) as he left it for the last time. Yes, I wept for myself and all of the memories this home holds. Moreso though, I wept for my Mom and Dad. This was their forever home as Mom has often told us throughout this transition. When you move to a lovely one story Condominium from a two story (with a basement) home, you downsize significantly. What treasures of your home do you want to bring… what will fit… what to do with the rest… these are hard questions to ask at any age, let alone when you are in your 80’s (no, Mom, I won’t reveal your exact age publicly, that wouldn’t be proper form!).

As we drove away from their new home today, they stood out front and waved goodbye. Tears flowed from your sappy old Padre’s eyes and now I wish I had taken a picture of them as they waved. Don’t worry though, the picture is engrained in my heart and my soul.

Now we are partway back to Colorado. The UHaul is parked in the hotel lot and while I reflect, tear up, and write; Denise is working on her sermon for Sunday. What a time this has been.

Remember the Practicing Sabbath class? Well, we aren’t practicing very well if you think about it. We will be home for a week after this adventure and then we will be at another class for the Certificate in Christian Spiritual Formation course… this time at another “Thin Place”, Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta. Sabbath Rest? Maybe in January?!

Yet now, as I reflect and write, I am finding the Sabbath Peace despite the turmoil. How do I find that peace? I find that peace in the knowledge that Mom and Dad won’t have to navigate the steep stairs to the upper floor and basement multiple times a day. I find that peace in the knowledge that many of the things that made 1002 their home are with them in their new home. I find that peace in the picture in my heart of them smiling and waving goodbye to us as we drove off. I find that peace in the presence of some very dear friends from their church & community family who will continue to walk with them through this transition and in the years to come. I find that peace in the smile and loving embrace of my sweet partner in faith and life, Denise.

Most of all though, I find that peace in the knowledge that our loving God holds us closely just as a mother hen gathers her brood protectively under the shelter of her wings (Matthew 23:37). If you have made it this far, reading the emotional ramblings of your Padre, my heart thanks you.

Dear reader, I would ask that you do me one favor in closing… when you think of it, lift a prayer for George & Shirley Moore as they continue this transitional journey. As well, pray for all those who deal with all the difficulties that aging brings into one’s life. 

In the end, always this prayer… tonight for my parents especially… Dona Nobis Pacem… Grant Us/Them Peace…

  1. Cheryl Anne permalink

    I am grateful for the sacred trust of being invited to glimpse your family’s story, and to pray for your parents as their next chapter unfolds. Gentlest Blessings to each of you, and may you continue to find the Sabbath Queen smiling deep in your soul regardless of outer circumstances. All you have to do is open the door and invite Her in. She will be grateful too. ❤

  2. Michael, I appreciate this heartfelt glimpse into your personal life and how hard it must be to find peace and Sabbath rest in the midst of such busyness. So it’s wonderful to read that even now, as your parents begin to adjust to a new living environment that won’t quite feel like ‘home’ for a while, you are being given insight into the heart of God very much at the centre of your life while these transitions are being made. May you rest deeply in every way as you entrust the future into His safe and loving hands. Praying for you and your family. Every blessing. ❤

  3. Patti permalink

    A very moving and beautiful tribute to parents who truly made a home out of a house to nurture their family. We are thankful that it produced a loving, caring, nurturing pastor! The stages of life can be bittersweet to navigate, but find a moment to rest in the knowledge that you have honored your father and mother by being there for them in this transition. Thank you for sharing this . . .

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