In his wonderful poem, Two Tramps in Mud Time, Robert Frost says: “But yield who will to their separation/My object in living is to unite/My avocation and my vocation/As my two eyes make one in sight./Only where love and need are one,/And the work is play for mortal stakes,/Is the deed ever really done/For heaven and the future´s sakes.” How fortunate I’ve been to have found work that unites my avocation and my vocation – to have found work that is challenging, engaging, and satisfying all at once.
My work has combined love and need. President William Howard Taft, an active Unitarian layman, said,“The Unitarian ministry is the perfect vocation for an independently wealthy man.”
Not being independently wealthy, and realizing that ministry would not make me wealthy, it has served the two basic purposes of ‘love and need.’
Since naming the date to conclude my full time ministry here in Westport, I’ve entered the concluding chapter, and so far it has been better than I expected…or feared. Once I named the date I have felt a surprising sense of satisfaction, a surge of energy, flavored by a new and different sense of freedom. I’m savoring it.
The few years leading up to it were rough. I felt pressure from various places and resented and resisted it– but most of the pressure was from within…from the accumulation of birthdays and from the diagnosis of Parkinson’s. Some of the pressure came from the Board. But in the final analysis it was my decision. In retrospect I know I needed a push to break through the resistance. We all resist change, especially change that involves a sense of loss.
The Board of Trustees took some heat, collectively and individually. They have handled it well, reminding us that they are simply trying to serve their term responsibly, thinking not only of the way things are going now, but looking down the road and thinking about the future of this important, dynamic congregation.
That’s why they are called trustees! Guardians.
Now that things have settled down – helped by three resiliency gatherings and two positive conversations meetings – we do well to remember that the Board is comprised of Chuck, Randy, Ken, Denny, Kristen, Sal, Steve, Sherry, John, Lyn and Michelle. Individuals. Volunteers. Each has his or her own ideas, personality, skills and contributions to make. Each of them is doing their best to insure the well-being of the long-term life of our spiritual home.
To that end they have put together a survey – Our Future Story – asking for your input, inviting and encouraging your involvement and hoping for your participation in the process of planning for the future.The survey is on the web site, and it’s available in hard copy from the church office.
I hope you take a few minutes to complete the survey, then attend the meeting on Saturday, March 3rd, from 9am to 1pm, to share your ideas, opinions, concerns about the future. The focus will be on the positive aspects of our congregation – on our strengths. You matter. If you can’t be there, there will be other ways for you to share in this important work, on line or in person.
“Only where love and need are one / Is the deed done / For heaven and the future’s sakes.”