by Amy Vaughan
In what would be one of my last big adventures while I was serving in an appointment beyond the local church, I was selected to be a participant in SEED20, a kind of “shark tank” competition for non-profits in the Charlotte area. I didn’t know at the time that I within six months I’d be on my way to a new appointment, and would be leaving this one behind. I loved my work directing the Arts Program for UMAR, an agency that serves adults with intellectual disabilities, and I loved this piece of artwork made by one of our artists. I selected it to be my “prop” for the professional photo shoot that would publicize my participation. I didn’t know that on the day of this photo shoot, I would also be burying my last parent, my dad. The photographers were scheduled for just this one day, so there was not much wiggle room to make any adjustments. I also knew that my dad would have been very proud of me for winning this bright momentary spotlight. I couldn’t cancel and forfeit my place in a very exciting event. And so, I went, graciously allowed to be the first appointment for the day. I hoped the beauty of this stained glass piece set in the frame of an old recycled window would help draw attention away from my grief-worn face.
This year has been a year of transitions. I am thrilled to now be the pastor of a small church with a big missional heart. When I wrote the poem below, I felt anything but certain. I looked back with fondness at the work of the last five years, and ahead to the promise of something new and unknown. The art piece does a lot to sum it all up – new work framed by old wood. So, too, as we make transitions from one church to another, one phase of life to another, one ministry to another, the new work is always framed by old wood. The promise of God’s presence remains, even though the view from the front porch may be different. A time of transition offers a path to new adventure, but it is also a time to reflect on the unchanging goodness of the Alpha and the Omega.
Something in the early morning light,
Snippets of conversation,
The plaintive lyrics of Joni Mitchell,
And words buried so deep with meaning
In a Buechner daily devotional
That it takes three readings,
And a second cup of coffee,
Until I melt into tears of
Stacks of books to sort,
Boxes waiting to be packed,
Letters and emails waiting to be written,
One door to be gently closed,
And another waiting to be opened.
I find myself in this
And sweet rememberings,
Loitering between worlds,
Not fully belonging to either.
Help me, Kemo Sabe, to fully embrace
This floating carpet ride,
Looking over the landscape of laughter and tears,
Straining to catch the sun rising over that next
Help me to be present in the now,
The sweetness of promise mixed with
The filling of this sandwich time –
Too delicious to rush!
Now is the time to dig deep,
Help me to look, not too much in the rear-view mirror,
Or staring endlessly into a blossom still clinched green,
Help me, instead, to close my outward eyes and open
Inward ones, looking deep inside.
There I will find all I need
To carry across this bridge.
Amy Vaughan June 9, 2017
Amy Vaughan is an ordained Deacon in the Western North Carolina Conference who serves as the pastor-in-charge of Marvin United Methodist Church in Lincolnton. Previously, she served beyond the local church in ministry with UMAR, as the Art Program Director supporting adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. You can find more of her poetry at www.facebook.com/amy.vaughanand http://revamy.org/ or in her collection of poems published this year: 40 Days of Grief and Lament (email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information)