What .. now?
No doubt by now everyone has heard the news that our dear Elizabeth is leaving All Saints in September. It’s a bit of shock isn’t it? It’s like childbirth, Christmas or death – you think you’re prepared for it but it always somehow comes as a surprise and your first response is generally “What .. now? Really?” When Elizabeth called me at home to inform me of the news I’m not sure she really got a real reaction from me. Eternal pessimist that I am I thought she had called me at home on a Monday night to tell me you had all found out what a colossal fraud I am and to tell me I could no longer come within 250 feet of the building or some such nightmare. I hope she didn’t misunderstand the tone of relief in my voice.
It’s hard to imagine life here without her isn’t it? I would never refer to her as “part of the furniture” (unless it was a particularly comfortable and supportive recliner complete with massage and seat warming function, that not only allows you to recline and bask in its warmth but also says encouraging things at regular intervals and remembers your birthday) but she is certainly an integral part of All Saints – perhaps we can best describe her as the mortar that holds everything together though that sounds rather pedestrian. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory there is a prince who asks Mr Wonka to build him a chocolate palace. The chocolate bricks are cemented together with Willy Wonka’s Finest Dark Chocolate, warmed and melted – that sounds more like “Elizabeth-mortar” to me. Perhaps with an occasional added nut to avoid any danger of dull consistency.
St Marks in Qualicum Beach is in for a treat with Elizabeth as Incumbent. Apparently the “getting to know you” meeting that led to her appointment there lasted for SIX HOURS. I hope they don’t think they know all there is to know! If Elizabeth was a book she would be a pop up version of a classic – maybe The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. And the pop-ups would be not the main characters, or the dramatic fight scenes, but the details that bind the story together like the crunchy snow under the children’s feet, or gradual return of the sun to warm the earth and reveal the healthy young grass and long buried flowers just waiting to burst out of the earth in celebration of Aslan’s return.
Sigh. I’m SO going to miss her, but I appreciate that it’s someone else’s turn now. While my inner child is hurling itself on to the floor, kicking and pounding it’s balled up fists in a full on tantrum yelling “MINE!” I know it’s time for a change and that the All Saints identity is not kept alive by her presence, though it has been nurtured and strengthened by her influence. This is an exciting time both for Elizabeth and for the rest of us and we look to the future and dream of where God will take us – one thing is for sure – we may think we know where we’re headed, but his plans are bigger than ours and we will find ourselves saying “what … now?” “Really?” many more times before we’re done.