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.