I spent much of this morning in tears…

I decided to call a friend from church to say I’d been missing her, after just a few minutes of hellos she blurted out, “Oh Lynette, we’re not going to the church anymore.” (the church where my husband pastors.)

Try as I might to keep talking without tears, it was impossible to hold them back.  I love this friend and her husband, consider them close friends. So many emotions were rushing to the surface…

Hurt, frustration, sadness, disappointment. How can someone leave and not tell?  Why am I finding out this way? Self-doubt and condemnation — I should’ve done more.

We talked at length, both of us crying, open hearts and honest sharing. A gift to have a friend like her who is whole enough that the conversation becomes more about the other person than about you.

Still though, such sadness, if only they would’ve talked to us and let us in on their thinking.  I understand their need for “more friends who we can really relate to,” but who hasn’t felt that, perhaps many times?

I’ve also left a church without telling the pastors. Not wanting to face them I quietly stopped going.  Years later (maybe 15 yrs) I ran into them, and the wife told me how it had hurt her.  Rightfully so, I was wrong. Am I reaping what I sowed? Maybe, though today’s experience is sadly not the first, nor unique.

Our conversation this morning ended with, “We’ll always be friends whether we’re together at church or not.”  Then my morning run turned into a walk, and the Lord ministered to my heart on a backdrop of beautiful sunshine, while I pondered the following…(What follows is NOT about our friends, simply my own observations and thoughts, prompted by their departure.)

It’s lonely being in leadership. While others might take the, “Is this place giving us what we want?” mentality, leaders take the posture of, “What is required and am I doing enough?”

Endings are more weighty than beginnings. Consider funerals in contrast to births, retirement vs. start date, farewell moments vs. hellos.  Endings relate to investments, and should always be tended to with the utmost of care.

The consumer mentality is prevalent. If I’m the consumer and the customer is always right, then this perspective drives my decision-making.  Granted, sometimes it’s the right posture, but personally I’d rather strive for ownership than consumerism, therefore I make decisions like an owner would, with long-term investments trumping over short-term comforts.

There are seasons for everything, including friendships and church selections. Our friends will remain our friends with church in common or not, but the whole experience leaves me with a stronger-than-ever commitment to care more carefully about endings, at home, work, and most of all with people.

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