I too am sad to see them go, but on the other hand I'm relieved that they are leaving on good terms. I honestly can't begrudge a person taking advantage of oppotunity. Any person would be a fool not to - after all, it's just stupid to stay in a rut because it's comfortable if the Lord is opening an opportunity for growth and advancement to you. While I will miss them and the stable support they have provided our congregation, I have to say that I'm happy to see them advancing in their careers and their lives, and I believe it's wise for them to seize these opportunities.
There's another side to this, though, that I don't think people are considering, and that's what I call the "graceful parting" scenario. Honestly, if people are questioning where they are in life and want to pursue a new or different course, I believe it's best for them to seek and take advantage of those opportunities and to leave gracefully and on good terms. These pastors are doing that. There is no controversy. There are no allegations of wrongdoing or shady morals. They aren't being run off. They are simply progressing along the path of life and that path has come to a fork in the road where they have chosen a divergent path. There's no wrong in that and if they want to go a different way, I admire them for acting on what's in their heart and going with the best of intentions for all.
I can speak to this from experience. Two years ago when legislation was in the State House to move the programs I work with (and, as a result, me) to a new department, things got, for lack of a better word, awkward. The department I was out was transferring the programs/me due to an internal transition they were going through in an effort to streamline and to operate in a more efficient and cost effective way. They were under strain and as a result put pressure on the powers that be to make things move - NOW, by the way, because they had to get these changes through before the end of the fiscal year in June. The problem was that, although they started the process well ahead of time for me, things don't move through the legislature in a great hurry. And so we waited, and panic set in around April when they realized that their deadlines weren't other peoples' deadlines, who had cares, concerns, and timelines of their own to worry about. Impatience took over and it got ugly and strained. At one point it got so nasty that I offered to work from home, which made them madder because they thought I was being a smart alec (but I was sincere, as the office space was becoming a problem at that point). I wanted nothing more than to part from the place on cordial terms - after all, I had been there 11 years, and it had been a rollar coaster but I didn't want to walk away with a chip on my shoulder - but they just wouldn't allow it. They couldn't control their impatience and frustration, my work ethic lagged to a point where it was so bad that I'm ashamed to say how little real work I did for the last 3 months in that office, and I finally walked out for the last time on July 1, 2010 with my computer and the attitude that I wasn't going away mad; I was just going away. While I left on good terms with some people and a couple of friends, some of them try so hard to avoid me when they see me in public that I hope they don't sprain anything doing it. That would be a shame.
Too bad, really and a little embarassing to admit, but I took great lessons from this season in my life. One is that it's always best to part on good terms if it's possible, and I'm glad the pastors are doing that. I want them to move on through life with good memories and relationships at Mt. Tabor and I hope the experiences they've had with our congregation have been strong, positive ones that have prepared and built them up for what comes next. I don't want them wondering if they took anything from this experience but building up some job skills for the next step and nothing that fed them emotionally or spiritually, as I wonder about the last place where I worked. I hope we were more than a stepping stone and that we have enriched their soul and their lives in a significant way. But most of all, I don't want them walking away saying "Whew! Thank God THAT'S over!" I want them happy - with what they've had here, what they've accomplished, and what's ahead.
So to Pastor Paul and Pastor Ryan, I say Godspeed. I'm honored that you were a member of our congregation and our families for these years and I'm happy that the Lord has opened new challenges and opportunities to you. I wish you success, happiness, prosperity and joy on the journey. Perhaps our paths will cross again. Life is funny that way. You never know.
Oh by the way, I learned something else about myself two years ago. I have a good work ethic, but if you piss me off I can not only get nasty back, but I can get darn lazy too. It's amazing how you can find better things to do with your time when you just don't care anymore.
That's all for today. Take care and have a good week.