Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Moving...and the Suck

For months, which have felt like years, we have known we were moving.  The process starts so early that decisions are made as the new year begins.  Even before that my wife and I discussed whether or not to put my name out there.  Once we came to that conclusion the painful part begins.  Slowly our fingernails are pulled off as we wait, wait, keep quiet, and wait, and wait.

I wanted to write about our experience for a while now but with the amount of secrecy involved I could not.  I thought about writing and then posting later but I decided not to.  Sunday was announcement day for our conference and now it is public knowledge and legal to discuss.  So here I go.

What I need to get off my chest is the fact that this process just sucks.  I am not upset at the cabinet or anything like that.  It is the process.  I understand it, respect it, and have no better way to conceive of even doing it, but it still sucks.  It may be different when you are sitting at your desk and then the DS calls with the option of moving.  But for us we wanted to be proactive for the sake of our children and requested a move.  (Our son starts kindergarten in Aug. and moving now will potentially mean there may be only one move in our children's school career, key word is POTENTIALLY).  It fit our family the best to request a move this year, so we did.

What sucks about the process is the secrecy and the waiting.  My wife and I have felt like we have been living in a lie for the last four months.  First as people asked if we were putting in paper work we had to dodge the question.  Then as fellow clergy, neighbors, church people, and even random people off the street asked and we once again had to dodge the question.  My pat answer has been "we'll see."  Since we United Methodist Clergy are only appointed one year at a time, that will probably be my answer from here on out.

I understand the part about secrecy too.  This is a "needs to know" process and the public doesn't NEED TO KNOW.  But that doesn't mean they won't stop asking.  We have lived in the middle of demands to keep quiet and curious/anxious people.  White lies were told (*Lord please forgive me*).  Change of subjects were frequent.  And my wife and I dodged the question like prize fighters.  But every so often a punch would land and we had to do our best to not answer.  IT SUCKS!  It is simply part of the process though, so we have to live in the suckiness.

The waiting is hard too.  Actually that doesn't do it justice.  The waiting is horrendous.  My wife and I are also planners, very detailed planners.  We like to know what is happening and when so we can best prepare ourselves and our family.  It is our nature and there is no escaping it.  But with that nature comes the need for information which is hard to come by in this process. We simply had to wait to hear, wait to see, wait to talk, wait to tell.  We had each other and we did let some close friends/family in on our journey, but the waiting was horrible.  Part of the process I know, but still it sucks.

There is more to come as we say goodbye to Trinity and hello to Indian Trail.  But I had to rid myself of the Suck and now that it has left my fingers and is on the screen, my soul feels lighter.  Confessing and professing is good for the soul.

Can I get an AMEN?


Jim said...

Jim Doepken up in Alaska here. I came back a few days early from General Conference, met with the PPR of another church (actually the only 2 point charge in Alaska) on Friday, spoke with key leaders on Saturday, and announced I'd be leaving the church and community I'd been part of for 12 years in January 2013. I'll move in January. The rest of the family will make the 90 mile trip in June. And it sucks. But, it's time. This will be a good fit for me. It will mean that my son can graduate high school next year without moving. It means my older twin girls will have freshman year in one place but have the promise of three straight years to finish out school in another. It means my young twin girls will have kindergarten in the community they've been part of their whole life.

But it's time. Someone with new eyes and new ears and a new learning curve needs to lead the church through its next transitions. I'm almost too comfortable at Girdwood AK.

There wasn't really any secrecy around here. I've always made the comment that I could be moved any year. Even with a marginally Methodist congregation made of persons of all different denominations, I've let them know I could move. But I've said that for 12 years. There was much sadness on Sunday. People were crying. I had an email ready to go out right after the announcement. I had a Facebook update ready to be sent after it would have been announced at the other church. And I was very thankful that Monday came.

But it's time. Even if it's a sad-thing, it can be a good-thing...a God-thing.

And it still sucks.

Blessings on your transition as well.

Jim Doepken (

John Bryant said...

The secrecy is definitely difficult. I'm not changing appointments but my wife is. I was never sure what to say when rumors came up. I did my best to dodge the question or say "I'm not sure yet."

What I found even more painful were the rumors that started flying that I was moving. I'm not sure who started them or how many people in my church heard them but I found those incredibly difficult to respond to. I wanted to quash them but knew nothing was set without my letter. What a strange, in-between time we live in for those few months.