For Sue and Lindon, with Gratitude

This morning my faith community celebrated and said good-bye to our retiring rector and her spouse, our priest-in-residence. There were moments of joy and tears and good-wishes and overwhelming gratitude for our shared experiences on this journey together. Because transition is so much as part of who I am, I wanted to write and share my own reflection on what each of these amazing people has meant to me on my journey of faith during this chapter of my life. I will hold each of them close to my heart while wishing them many blessings on their new chapter of life.

Sue Eaves, you have been a rock and an inspiration on my journey of faith. I did not walk into the door of St. Thomas anticipating that I would welcome the knowledge and experience of God in my life. But in this place, and within this community, you cultivated the ground for the seeds that had been planted along my journey to take root and grow. You were receptive to my questions, and honest and authentic in responding to my challenges. You have held my hands and prayed with me both during times of great loss, and in times when I was stepping forward to lead and share my own journey with others. Your genuine spirituality and caring shone through especially in those moments, the deep spirituality of daily life. You have offered up opportunities that allowed me to step out in faith, and welcomed leadership that you saw emerging in so many of the good people of St. Thomas. You have led this flock of sheep with calmness, grace, hospitality, courage, and humor. We will miss you, but you have opened the door for this congregation to continue to grow and flourish, and have instilled in us the confidence to step forward boldly in faith, allowing us to discover what we can become, with God’s help. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Lindon Eaves, you are an inspiration for embracing the duality of spirituality and science in my life. I have known you both in the University academy, and in this spiritual community. Sometimes, my academic colleagues mention you with well-deserved admiration, and I get to picture you preaching a sermon on the theme of Monty Python, or wearing the wildest socks the children of the parish bequeath to you. Or, I hear our St. Thomas’ friends speak of you fondly as one of their clergy and infer that you have some other job at VCU, and I smile because I know you also as a brilliant scientist who has mentored those who now mentor me. You are renown in your field as a geneticist, you have been respected as a leader and teacher and researcher in this University long before I had even an inkling of being an academic. I am grateful to know you in two parts of my world, both of which are new to me in this chapter of my life, and I am even more grateful for the unspoken role model you have been in allowing both academic and spiritual aspects of the self to inform each other. Religion and science are not incompatible, and often the brilliance of both can be found in the comedic serendipity of human life.

Bless you both on your journey, as you have truly blessed my journey with your presence.

About harasprice

Professor of Social Work and Priest in The Episcopal Church, parent, teacher, learner, writer, advocate, and grateful traveller along this journey through life
This entry was posted in Spiritual journey, Who is My Neighbor? and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to For Sue and Lindon, with Gratitude

  1. Shelly Klinger says:

    Amen, thank you for this. I too, knew Lindon as a respected mentor at VCU and Sue as a referral source for counseling clients before they were my pastors. Blessings to them on their journey!

  2. Mary Whittle says:

    Sarah, Thank you so much for directing me to your blog. I have read and absorbed most of it. I also wanted to tell you how much Sue and Lindon have meant to me. Sue’s happy spirit, determined attitude of inclusion, and kindness have been very powerful to me. Lindon taught me to relax. It didn’t matter to Lindon’s standing, integrity, or reputation that he believed in kindness and fellowship as much as he believed in any of the tenets of our faith that we say in the Nicean Creed. He taught me that it was alright to think and share my beliefs and doubts. I had never ever experienced that kind of relaxation in a church before. If I am to spend time with people in a place, these are the people and this is the place where I feel most connected to God. “We’re here because we’re here because we’re here because we’re here.” And this feels like holy ground. As Lindon said, it is all about kindness. And as we sang this morning in the Brubeck piece, “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” Light, childlike, and breezy in its
    absolute belief that “all will be well; all manner of things will be well.” Yes, there are many roads. And only by rejecting each other and God’s grace in our lives can we fail. I don’t worry too much about belief any more. I just concentrate on filling my life with love and joy and service. And your presence is a precious part of that experience.

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