The love fest at Seal Beach Center for Spiritual Living took me into an altered state. I am feeling a continual sense of gratitude for the incredible turnout of people, the wonderful words spoken, the inspiring music of Diane, Chelsea, and Faith, and the outpouring of hugs and love. I truly felt like I was floating on the ceiling! It was validation for the work I have chosen in my life.
One of the best things about ministry (and there are many wonderful things about it) is that I have had the sacred gift of very intimate and personal moments with so many people. Many of the couples whom I married were in the room yesterday, reminding me of the number of years they have been together. When I do a wedding, they work! There were young people there whom I had baptized, not to mention two of my most recent little ones - both Ryker and Jianna. There were people who have shared their hearts with tears in their eyes saying "thank you" for what came through us as we had explored their issues and challenges together.
In the daily work of ministry, one often forgets how precious those moments are. I, too, often wondered if I was doing enough, or if I could have done more. Now I know it was enough. I am grateful for having learned that we are all enough for now - and we all have room to grow.
When I got home yesterday, Don was having lunch with my dad at his residence, so the house was empty. It seemed especially empty and quiet after all the festivities. I sat down for a moment, read the many thoughtful messages on the cards I had received, then changed my clothes and did the laundry! Just like the book Jack Kornfeld wrote - After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.
Since today was the first day of my "rewirement," when I woke up this morning, I said to Don, "So many people are getting up to go to work today, and I'm not!" It really hit me that I have retired, and although my ministry is my life work, it is different knowing that I do not have office hours, nor do I have scheduled meetings, at least for now.
This day has been spent doing the last preparations for my departure to Istanbul tomorrow. Don and I did take time out to walk in the park and see young hawks practicing flight while their watchful parents soared overhead. Baby coots were carefully fed and tended by their parents in the pond, not to mention countless quacking ducks who were happy to eat the chicken scratch that Don takes with him whenever he goes for a walk.
I feel so alive, and so excited anticipating this trip and my return home to begin a new phase of life.
I depart at 5:55 tomorrow from LAX direct to Istanbul, which will take fourteen hours. Six hours later, I will board a flight to Tel Aviv, where I will arrive at 2 AM, go to a hotel nearby, sleep and shower, returning to the Tel Aviv airport at 2:00 PM to meet the group arriving from New York. We begin our adventure at a kibbutz (Mizra).
I will be adding to this blog whenever I can access WiFi long enough to post, and hope to be able to provide some photos along the way. Rev. Josh will be my liaison for the blog, and you can also email me (no forwards, please), as I will have my Blackberry. PLEASE DO NOT PHONE ME as calls overseas are very costly. Also, there is a ten hour time difference, so if you call me at 5:00 PM, it is 3 AM in Israel. I am not friendly at 3 AM.
Join with me in knowing that Spirit is the constant in each of our lives, and that all of us are safely enfolded in the Divine Love and Guidance that we can always trust. May we also know that the peace process in Israel and Palestine is working, and that true agreement can be realized for a lasting peace.
Love to you all,