Father's Day this year was easier I believe than last year. Last year Tim and I could never see eye to eye on the day and our expectations for it. This year we went out last night to buy Tim a watch. Then today we spent the morning at church, the afternoon at the pool, and the evening with my parents and brother. There were moments of grief for Cara but also moments of joy for our next little one on the way.
Father's Day was coupled with another event that has been deeply upsetting for me. Today was the last Sunday our dear friend and pastor, L, will be at our church. She will be moving to another Methodist church not far down the road. In L's departure also comes the releasing of one of my earliest dreams at All Saints', to have her and G baptize our child. I picture baptizing our next daughter one day, and it always brings tears to my eyes, sometimes downright sobs. Now knowing that another person will be missing from that event deeply saddens me. I know though that both L and Cara's presence will always be there with us at the font. It's the water that unites us.
L once shared with me how she often thought of Cara during the Great Thanksgiving. It has prompted my own thoughts to be drawn to my baby girl many times as well. I'll forever remember her exuberance in starting those words, "It is right, and a good and joyful thing always and everywhere to give you thanks..."
Today was a sad day, but there were holy moments I will never forget. I'm not sure whose idea it was between the music director and L, but it was a precious gift for the choir to sing "Tis the Gift to be Simple" on Father's Day. Tim and I have not been to church on a holiday other than Easter (let's remember how that ended.) We both feel so connected to this song and our daughter drew close to us in that moment.
L went on to preach about "A Scandalous Church" and her vision for our future. That we would be the church reaching out the poor, the unloved, the needy in ways that would leave our neighbors talking. She shared the story of a professor who was entertaining someone new to the area. A man came to the door high on either drugs or alcohol and asked for money for the bus. This new neighbor offered to drive him to his destination. The professor wanting to explain the neighborhoods said it might not be the best idea, and this neighbor looked at her and said, "We are already dead." This is so incredibly true. We died in the waters of baptism and have been raised into a new life. This life is not our own, how much more radical will we live if we approach it with an 'already dead' mentality.
As I came forward for communion, L was there. "The body of Christ broken for you," she said as she firmly placed the bread into my hand tears streaming down her face. I would have hugged her right there had it been appropriate. We gathered around L at the baptismal font to offer our blessing for her future. And as she hugged me one last time at the threshold of All Saints', L said, "She was here today, wasn't she?"
That is what I am going to miss.