What an odd and rare thing it is to say goodbye these days. There are so many ways to be in contact, to stay in touch, to remain on the periphery of someone's life.
Today, I said goodbye to a person who knows me quite well: my therapist. During seminary, I sought out counseling as an additional way to process what I was learning in school and to help me navigate the murky waters that are one's mid-twenties. It was one of the most rewarding decisions I've ever made (and one of the wisest investments). My weekly meetings with my therapist have shaped me for ministry just as much as any class or sermon or mentor. I am stronger, smarter, and more aware of myself than I ever could have become on my own. Having sat with such an intelligent and insightful woman nearly every week for two years, I learned how to be pastored. I learned how to receive care and help. I learned how to observe myself in my many contexts.
I also learned what sort of pastor I want to be, what sort of confidante and friend and girlfriend and daughter I want to be. And I began taking steps to become that person: the person who is more fully "me."
But, I've moved to a new city, begun a new ministry, and it is no longer possible for me to sit in my therapist's cheerful office overlooking Hyde Park. It's time to move on. So, today we said goodbye over the phone. Awkwardly trying to tell one another what this relationship has meant, I cried and told her, "I don't think I would have made it this far without you."
Her reply was this, "I'll accept that with gratitude, but only if you own the fact that whatever assistance or help I offered was just that: assistance and help. You did this, you made it this far."
And it's true. Graduating from seminary and landing a great first call was my accomplishment (guided by God, but I made the choice to follow). I wrote those papers. I walked that road.
But, my, what a difference a good companion makes on the journey.
And that's the point, right? We walk with one another.
During Lent, may we be especially aware of those who walk life's roads with us. Let us give thanks and praise for those who accompany us. Let us learn from those who make the way rocky and unsteady. And in the strangers we encounter, may we see the face of Christ. Amen.
Rev. McKinna Daugherty grew up at Saint Andrew and was ordained here in August 2013. She now serves as a resident minister at Central Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky (where Rev. Erin once served, too! Small world!) She'll be home toward the end of March and looks forward to seeing you all in worship. Blessings until then!