Farewell from Outgoing Wardens
Parting Thoughts from Renée and Hamish
`I feel strangely tired, Rat,' said the Mole, leaning wearily over his oars as the boat drifted. `It's being up all night, you'll say, perhaps; but that's nothing. We do as much half the nights of the week, at this time of the year. No; I feel as if I had been through something very exciting and rather terrible, and it was just over; and yet nothing particular has happened.'
`Or something very surprising and splendid and beautiful,' murmured the Rat, leaning back and closing his eyes. `I feel just as you do, Mole; simply dead tired, though not body tired. It's lucky we've got the stream with us, to take us home.'
~ From "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn," The Wind and the Willows, By Kenneth Grahame
As we take our leave as your Wardens, this conversation between Mole and Ratty has a particular resonance. Over these past three years we have collectively been living through times that were, and are, “very exciting and rather terrible.” We have known the uncertainty that comes with a search for a new rector; the exhilaration of Becky’s arrival and ministry; the anxiety of political and social upheaval; the frustration and fear with and within the pandemic. We have had moments when we wondered if anything “particular” was being achieved. We have known ourselves to be not simply ‘dead tired,’ but ‘body tired’ as well.
Our principal awareness, however, is of something altogether different. Throughout this time, we have seen large and small selfless acts, shared moments of grace, been touched by simple gestures of kindness, consideration and caring. And through these, through you and with you, we have known something utterly splendid and beautiful: that awe that is God’s presence amongst us.
What lies ahead for our St Paul’s community we do not know. Our past and our present suggest that there will be moments when it feels as if “nothing particular has happened” – and moments when we will long for stillness. There will be struggle and achievement, turmoil and triumph, joy and grief. And running through all, as it always has and always will, there will be the eternal presence. That wind in the willows.
To each member of this St Paul’s family - young and old, near and far, new and not so new: our thanks and our gratitude. Thank you for quiet moments. Thank you for surprises. Thank you for splendor and for beauty. Thank you most of all for being here with us – and being the living stream that carries us home.
Renée and Hamish