Sunday, November 22, 2009

Leaving -- Part III


Any guesses on how many blogs I'll have to write on "leaving" ? This will be a long goodbye. I have never really "done" goodbyes - they usually sneak up behind me, pounce, and sink their claws in at midnight or 2 AM before I have to depart (and nothing is ever packed yet!). Good thing this church really knows how to say goodbye right. They are teaching me.

Today at church I had given the children's sermon, gathered up the little ones, and announced that we would go downstairs for our lesson, when behind me a voice said "Actually Talitha, we need you up here for one other thing." I turned back and the head of our Prayer Shawl ministry was standing with two lay leaders at the front of the church. I herded the children back up, sat down obediently, and received a beautiful prayer shawl. By "prayer shawl" we do not mean that I ought to use it when I pray (although I'm sure the option is open), but that the knitter knit a prayer into each loop and hook. It was laid on my shoulders, and hands were laid on by the whole congregation. I sat there holding out my hands. Five tiny sets of children fingers piled on my left hand, and Junebug's rough and paint-splattered hand took my right, and I took a deep breath as the entire church piled prayers on my shoulders.
Fifteen more days in Lostine; how can I treasure this time enough? I don't even want to sleep.
Then again that may be because my previous patterns of leaving places have triggered me to think - "i'm leaving? when? whoa, girl, better stay up packing!"

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