Yesterday was a significant date for me, and I almost let it slip by. One year ago, on June 23, 1013, I handed in my keys, and ended my tenure as the Rector of St. Matthew’s Cathedral and the Dean of the Diocese of Brandon. It seems very far away now, but as readers of this blog may realize, it took some time for that distance to take shape.
A lot has happened. Much of it has been good, but there have been some bumps along the way. I spent a lot of time in the fall re-living and re-thinking my time in Brandon, until my dearly beloved challenged me (gently!) to let it go. She’s a wise woman. It’s not healthy to live in the past, as I told many people over the years. Still, it’s one thing to counsel people through grief, and quite another to live through it yourself.
And that’s what I now recognize this past year to have been: it has been a grief process. All the standard aspects of grief (aka response to loss) have been present — except perhaps for denial. It was hard to deny the reality of the change when we were living 1,200 km away from the scene of our previous life. But all the rest were there, including most recently some depression. There have been days in recent months when I have woken up saying to myself “…another b****y day!”
Things change, and indeed things have improved. I have come to recognize in myself the prevailing pathology of clergy: the need to be needed. That thirst hardly needs to be slaked when you’re the Rector of a busy parish, but when I spend most days at home, it became almost overwhelming. Solving the problem simply meant finding meaningful things to do in the church and the community.
That’s happening now, with involvement in leadership or supportive roles in Vocal Alchemy, the Memorial Society of Edmonton and District, Holy Trinity Anglican Church, and Education for Ministry in the Diocese of Edmonton. That should keep me busy, and involved with people as much as I need. We’re glad to be in Edmonton, part of a vibrant faith community, close to our family, and with time to do the things we really want to do.
Now… when am I going to find time to start writing that book?