Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
2021 Blog Number 36
September 6, 2021
A Bitter-Sweet Vacation
One of the benefits of pastoring churches is the wonderful vacation packages that pastors receive. I am given a month of vacation. Usually I take off all of August. It is wonderfully refreshing to get a month to rewind before heading back for another academic year of pastoring.
This year was a bit different. Vacation was good but not quite as good as usual. It was mixed with grief and having to let go of some beloved friends. It took a bit of the joy away from vacation.
My sister died a year and a half ago. She died during the Covid-19 epidemic even though her death was not Covid-19 related. This summer I planted rose bushes at my vacation cabin in her memory. Her name was Dawn and I planted roses named “Dawn Chorus” in her memory. I didn’t do this last year as I wasn’t quite ready. This year I felt ready.
During my time away, a beloved church elder died. She was the oldest elder in our congregation. Her death was no surprise. When I left for vacation she was in hospice. Nevertheless, her death was a sad event. I came back from vacation for her funeral.
Another beloved lady, a deacon, also died while I was away. She certainly was ill but I never expected this death so quickly. I though she had more time and fully expected to visit her when I returned. I guess that God had other ideas. I left vacation for two days for her funeral as well. These funerals were about one week apart and each left my life a bit emptier and placed sadness in my heart.
Was my vacation good? Yes, of course. I enjoyed rest, relaxation and some wonderful time with my family, especially my grandsons. Was there a bitterness as well? Yes, of course. I return from vacation finally putting closure on my sister’s death and I return knowing that I will never see a beloved elder and a beloved deacon again. My world has changed and when I leave vacation this evening and travel home, I am coming back to a community that will be quite different from the one I left. My world changed by these deaths and will never be the same again.
So, what do I do to manage this grief and begin life without these friends and colleagues? I will do what I always do; trust God. I believe that God brings us out of each dark valley that we walk through and brings us to better places. God’s presence is greater than my grief and that is something to celebrate.
To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book:https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/