By Jeff Wescott
As a “change-averse,” person, I am unnerved to think about the changes of the past few years. Catherine recently had a mercifully brief encounter with cancer, which taught me what fear really meant. Our youngest daughter has emerged from a cocoon of fear and self-loathing to educate others about the dangers of anorexia. Our eldest daughter identifies as queer, has graduated from college, and eagerly embraces changes that will soon take her to live and work in France. I thank God, the example of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit that none of these changes has weakened us or diminished our love. In fact, just the opposite is true: each has led us to new understandings about ourselves, individually and as a family, and we are stronger for the experience.
Of course, none of these changes was easy and all demanded of us more patience and faith than we knew we had: there is nothing you can do to save a daughter who chooses to starve herself; lab results don’t come any faster for your worry; and no shield exists to protect your child from the homophobia that seeks to deny her being. The temptation to keep my problems to myself did not help me be patient with others, even when I needed that patience more than ever. I know I ain’t no bargain at the best of times, so this presented a real problem for the people who knew me best. I pondered the nature of patience and forgiveness, the strange paradox that made me crave the very thing I couldn’t recognize in myself. Is patience but the antidote to anxiety? Is the pool of forgiveness so shallow that it dries up like desert rain? Of what do we need to remind ourselves when we find fear, anxiety, and blame more readily than faith, patience, and forgiveness?
I think that Bob Dylan had it only half right: changing times don’t make us victims of time, anymore than we are victims of death. Answers aren’t blowing in the wind but emerging in ourselves as Christ’s love guides and holds us. Grace Church needs to remember these facts as we discern our path. I believe that Grace is on the cusp of such a discovery, and it will take patience to realize it.
Earlier this summer, Sue Kelly and I were working together on a Grace 150th Work Bee when she discovered a fact that surprised us both: it took Grace Church two-and-a-half years of searching before we were able to call Rev. Ed Emenheiser to be our new rector. What faith and love was made manifest in us at that time! How wondrous the future will be as we act out that faith! Sisters and brothers, do not be afraid. We’ve got this!