Thursday, October 30, 2014

Change in the Wind, Part One

It is nearly three months, now, since the school for autistic children left its home in The Little Church to move to bigger quarters. I hear from the director from time to time; all is going well, the new space is huge and laid out beautifully, the kids all made an easy adjustment, and when would I come to visit?

The move left a huge hole in The Little Church. Their existence has been threatened due to their dependence on the income from the school, now gone. Tireless efforts on the part of the lay leadership has, thus far, failed to yield a new tenant, although conversations with one prospect are ongoing and there have been some inroads in other directions.

The move also left a huge hole in my life. No one from The Little Church is in the building regularly. I miss the traipsing up and down the hall as the kids go to speech or occupational therapy sessions. I miss the odd noises that some of the nonverbal students make. I miss the ongoing affirmations and enthusiasms of the teachers. I miss hearing about day-to-day life events of the staff. The Little Church is way too quiet for my taste.

The rector stops by for -- at most -- a total of three hours each week when I am there. Most weeks it is fewer. The congregation is hanging on by a thread with no money for preventive medicine, they are constantly applying band-aids and tourniquets to all-too-frequent property issues.

I have been very, very lonely, and a few weeks ago -- as a couple of squirrels moved in and began appearing without warning -- I began to feel uncomfortable. The church is locked and there is a doorbell, but I must open the door to speak to the person who has rung.

I looked at a position in another church, but it felt like a toxic place and they wanted more hours than I wanted. I drove my husband crazy consulted with my husband, who said if I wanted to be retired person (but I would still continue the hospital chaplaincy work), it was fine with him. I wasn't so sure. We decided that I would try to stick it out until spring, when I would have worked at the church for two years. Or, perhaps I would find another opportunity.


10 comments:

LizA. said...

How sad for the little church. Unfortunately we see it happening more and more with the "mainstream" religions while these new, giant mega-churches keep getting bigger. It's hard when you're a traditionalist.

Janet O. said...

Sounds very melancholy, Nancy. What a tough situation for you. I hope a positive outcome awaits you, whatever it may be.

Barbara Anne said...

Is the wonderful school's new facility located close enough that you could work there, as a paid something-or-other or as a volunteer? That would be the perfect patch for that empty place in your heart.

I wouldn't want to be the only human in an otherwise empty building either. If you or anyone else are to stay there, there needs to be a peep hole in the door with a light outside, camera system, or some other safety method so you can see out before opening the door.

Keep your heart open to the possibilities. Mary Poppins came when the wind changed!

Hugs!

Quiltdivajulie said...

Sending hugs . . . I know you will find the right path . . .

AnnieO said...

Lonely street is a poor workplace! Hope things pick up at the Little Church. Hard to believe it has been a year and a half since you started there!

Sue Slater said...

I know this is hard but as a bit of encouragement: retirement is wonderful. I worked full time until 2004 and at a little part-time job for 5 years after retirement and then, in 2011, I decided that at age 69, I deserved to retire. One of my first "real" retirement accomplishments was to join a quilt guild. Oh yes, retirement is wonderful.

chlost said...

I don't know you except through this blog, and have not followed it long enough to even have known that you were working in a church...as a chaplain? I'm also not sure if you have done so, but you would be an excellent quilting instructor. In fact, if I lived anywhere nearby, I would definitely take such a class. I hope that you have figured out a wonderful new opportunity.

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Prayers for peace being offered on your behalf. Wind isn't my favorite weather phenomenon and wind bearing change is hard; especially for a Lutheran, ask me how I know. Sending hugs, my friend!

Michele said...

Well, we wouldn't want to lead you so lonely over there:-)

Michele said...

leave you so lonely