"He turns rivers into a desert,
springs of water into thirsty ground,
a fruitful land into a salty waste...
He turns a desert into pools of water,
a parched land into springs of water.
And there he lets the hungry dwell,
and they establish a city to live in;
Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord."
~from Psalm 107
It is that time of year when people start to break their news. Staying. Or going. Last year I was baffled to discover that we would have our own "we are leaving" announcement. I felt guilty and struggled to share it with our close friends-- because I know how hard it can be to be the ones who are staying, holding down the fort, continuing with the work, the vision, whatever it may be
Now here we are, listening to the announcements come out as they do in their yearly cycle. It is a part of living in this place that you brace for, almost trying to steel yourself against. Try as you might, the transience gets to you.
There are good announcements too. The ones you hoped would stay say yes, they are in for two more years. If you are incredibly lucky, you may even get the news that someone you have dreamed of joining you is in fact taking the plunge and will be arriving in the next year (such a thing has happened to us!!). When you are the one who stays, these decisions bolster you beyond words.
I watched my son beg his dad to help him build an airplane; just the simple kind, you know, the one with paper. He knows his dad can do it far better than he and he watches closely, even with a bit of awe or at least admiration as the folds and angles come together in ways he couldn't at this point in his life even dream of. And that thing soars. It crashes too. And it soars.
I love to watch them sit together, and I think of the things I can't put together on my own either: communities and staff morale and ten year plans (that are guaranteed to pan out anyway) and personal vision. It takes a bit of trust and admiration to watch someone else do it, someone bigger than you. Someone who knows just what they're doing and how to make things really soar; who has the crashes all worked out and can even pick those pieces up and make it soar again.