Farewell from Dustin (July 2022)
Though it may get harder for you to see me…
As I sit here trying to come up with the words I want to write for this article, I am also actively working on my July 3 sermon. I’m finding that I’m coming up against the same hurdle with each of them. What do you say that’s better than “I love you”? How do you say “thank you” for helping me to discover my hidden self? I suppose you can just say those things (as I just did), but it doesn’t seem to be enough…it doesn’t convey the depth of connection and deep gratitude for a family that I didn’t even know that I wanted.
Seven years ago this fall, Jeff brought us to this church, “of course, I don’t expect you to go to church there just because I work there,” he told me, “but they might be good…they didn’t flinch when I told them I had a husband.” And, boy was he right! In so many ways, you have been my anchor through transition - you encouraged me to explore the possibilities of who God is, you held me through difficult times of discernment, you supported me in the decisions I made, and you offered me an opportunity to, literally, practice what I preach.
Near the end of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice’s musical EVITA, about the life of Eva Perón, she sings a reprise of her famous song from the show, Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina. This time, though, she’s retreating from the crowds - it’s the best thing for her life & her health, but it’s a difficult transition. “Don’t cry for me, Argentina,” she sings, “the truth is, I shall not leave you. Though it may get harder for you to see me, I’m Argentina & always will be.”
That is one of my favorite musicals, as a kid I literally wore out the VHS from watching it so many times. However, that line is truly resonating with me today in a way that it never did before. As an audience member, it’s sad because you already know she’s going to die very soon, and she’s essentially saying “goodbye, keep fighting the good fight!” But as I see a little bit more from her perspective, I think she might be saying, “Thanks for the opportunities, thanks for seeing me & understanding me & loving me. I’m going away now, and it will be harder to see me, but I’m still here! At my core, I will always be Argentina.”
It’s a similar story to the one that Jesus told the disciples that Jeff preached on last week. And now it’s my turn: Although I’m going away, I won’t be gone. At my core, I am everything that you helped me to become & thanks to that - thanks to YOU - I’m WPPC, and always will be. I promise you will see me again - just not all the time - I’ll still be at special events as often as I can & you better still have gluten-free options at Holden Evening Prayer, because I definitely don’t plan on missing that!
We’re at a new intersection on the road of our journey together, and this time I have to take a turn & you don’t. But even as I depart, I am comforted by the knowledge that you are still that all important anchor for me through this new transition - just as you have always been. Thank you for taking care of me for so long!