Fare Thee Well, Dear Chilliwack.
Well my friends,
The move is complete.
We are “settled” in our new city, new jobs, new church, new school, …perhaps settled is the wrong word, because it has been turbulent and stressful to say the least. And we are not really “settled” as we are still trying to figure out our “new normal”, and our new routine, and we are still seeking out a daycare, and the house is still in boxes…but here we are.
Trying to take it all in.
We moved so abruptly, that it still has not really sunk in yet. It almost does not feel real. But this morning I have been thinking about the move, and I feel like I did not have time to say farewell to everyone. The hardest part of the move, for me, has been this morning, as I consider the Church family we left.
Now, please do not get me wrong. I am excited to join a new and smaller congregation, full of new and friendly faces, different views on things, a different vision, to be involved in urban evangelism and so on…and they have been more than welcoming! The small church dynamic is actually really cool and I am really looking forward to being a part of this Church family…
But right now I am thinking about those whom we left behind.
And a thought struck me…
I wonder what it is like to be a pastor or an elder or a deacon or even a deeply involved brother or sister…and pour that much of yourself, your time, your prayers, your thoughts into a person or a family, and slowly see growth and the working of the Spirit in them, only to have them leave the congregation?
We left on good terms, and we’ll be back to visit undoubtedly, but…we left none the less.
And me being me, I think about these things, and how they affect other people. So I want to thank those people who touched our lives while in Chilliwack.
Thank you to the men who served as deacons. Especially those couple of guys, who month in and month out for many years, created deep impressions on our couches and deeper ones in our souls. Your work with us was used mightily by the Lord. I know it may not have felt like it, especially in the beginning, as you beat your head against our budget, or lack of one. As we had a hard time discerning “needs” from “wants.” As we slowly learned to let go of pride…But over time the Lord worked through you, not only in the financials and things of this world, but spiritually as well. So if you feel as if you never see the fruit of your labour in the Lord’s service, here is some. Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Thank you to the elders. Those men who cared for our spiritual well being. I apologize for being distant in the beginning, for the first few years we were here. I was hardened and depressed when we arrived in Chilliwack, trapped in self loathing and sin, but your work always caused me to think, and the Lord used it to eventually soften my heart. Thank you especially to the men who were there during my last bout of depression a year ago. There was no condemnation from you, there was only encouragement in the Word and a pointing to Jesus.
Thank you to the pastor, Rev. Abel Pol. We will miss your faithful work in bringing us the Word each week. Thank you also for your counsel and your calm rational responses to my emotional emails. I am sure we’ll keep in touch on the interwebs.
Thank you to our study group. We had only just begun. I was just letting you into my introverted bubble! It was a neat dynamic of different age groups, questions, thoughts, and stages of life. I am glad that you have already replaced us! You will all be missed.
Thank you to the men’s prayer group. It was small, but it was a wonderful and uplifting experience. You guys were (and still are) the ones I know I can go to about anything at any time without fear of judgement or gossip. Please do me a favour…you guys keep meeting, keep praying, keep encouraging each other – where two or three are gathered…
Thank you to the congregation. Those whom we knew well…and those whom we didn’t know well, but were there with support and encouragement, a casserole, a meal when it was needed, babysitting, clothing, support, coffee, a word of encouragement…there were so many small things, from so many people, that added up so perfectly in His will. We’ll miss the communion of the saints in Chilliwack.
And to our neighbours in the cul-de-sac on which we lived… We’ll miss you too. Especially those who had kids who played with ours! At least we have Facebook to keep in touch…right? Play dates can happen as well.
Fare thee well, dear Chilliwack. We’ll miss you.
But we’ll still see you.
You didn’t think you could get rid of us that easily did you? It’s not like we moved all that far away! We’ll be back to visit from time to time.
Now we look forward with anticipation and excitement, to all the new things: being close to my family, the new Church, the new school, the jobs and so on… Where will God lead us? We do not know, but he is in control.
Blessings to all of you in the new year!