After four years in this area, I’m being appointed to the Fort Morgan United Methodist Church in northeast Colorado. And as the day of our departure grows close, the emotions grow as well. How do you say “goodbye” to four years of friendships and experiences?
We have really enjoyed living in Dolores, leading worship in Dolores and Dove Creek, and often shopping in Cortez. Each community is obviously different and unique in its own way. (Besides my pastoring two churches, my wife Kathy has taught 1st Grade at Manaugh Elementary School in Cortez.) How does a person say “good-bye” to four years of one’s life? Obviously the answer is, “you don’t.” You don’t say good-bye, you just consider it a chapter of your life that you experienced and enjoyed. Then you close that chapter, and look forward to the next one that will soon unfold.
That’s exactly how I have viewed my life. Having spent 23 years in the Air Force in seven different locations, I have chronicled my live based upon where I was assigned and what was uniquely special in those locations. Ask me what I did in 1985, and I would first recall where I was, then narrow it down to what I did. Each location (West Texas, Illinois, Korea, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Alabama and Colorado) was different and yet the experiences were always rewarding. Why? Because God’s creation and his children are uniquely beautiful everywhere.
Even within Colorado we all know there are uniquely beautiful differences. While I enjoyed the big city life of Colorado Springs before moving here, I have come to really appreciate the slower pace of Montezuma and Dolores Counties. What could be better that living at the bottom of the San Juan Mountains and at the top of the high desert of New Mexico? Whether driving up the Dolores River or traveling to Dove Creek, each drive offers wonderful sites.
And the people we’ve met here are very special to us. The children at the Dolores Elementary school who know how to grow vegetables and the children in my church in Dove Creek who know how to brand calves. The elderly who share how they came here from Oklahoma in covered wagons and those who lived in sod homes as little kids. The members of the Rotary Club of Dolores who do so much for the children, teens and the community at-large to make it a better place for everyone. And my peers in pastoral ministry who, week after week in different ways, share our faith with all of God’s children, hoping that they too can find peace in their spirits through the divine love that God offers everyone.
How do you say “Good-bye” to all of this? You don’t say good-bye. You cherish each moment of the present, remember it always, and move forward physically, emotionally and spiritually to enjoy new and exciting parts of God’s creation.
May your experiences be like ours, blessed because of everything God offers everywhere.