The experience of preaching last night was definitely less than uplifting. Words that had seemed just right on even the final read-through fell heavily on an unresponsive air and I wondered whether, in fact, in the process of preaching to myself I had actually excluded everyone else.
In fact I had 3 positive comments at the door - each of them from a woman in one or another form of ministry. So I'm wondering whether the struggles with letting go are particularly intense for us as a group? Is that the shadow side of the longing to nurture?
I know that it's part of almost every aspect of my life right now, as I prepare to move on in ministry to a new place, and as I watch my children stepping out into the world. So much of me would like to freeze time, - indeed, to put the clocks back to the comfortable days of primary school children, whose needs and crises could be solved so easily with hugs, hot chocolate and a really good book.
But there's so much joy, too, in watching them grow into their new worlds...and I know that actually they will "go" whether I release them gracefully or try to hang on with clenched fists. But if I let go willingly, then the evidence shows that they are more than willing to return.
So, I make the choice to open my arms to receive the future, for them and for me as well.