Dear Del Rosa Family,
Transitions often give us the excitement of moving forward and we mourn what will be lost. I have found that in transition, the challenge is not in what was, or what will be, but the waiting for the transition to actually begin.
You have heard of those transitions in my life. The death of my grandmother was a very real transition. Grandma Camphouse had been a vibrant and loving woman, given to doing her own thing - getting up and deciding to drive to Mammoth from Arcadia just to go stay at the cabin she has leased for years, without telling any of her kids (and it wasn't until about 10 years ago that she got a phone put back in there as it had been inactive for about 20 years previously). She had a stroke in 1999 and was paralyzed on much of her right side. She struggled over the past few years with pnuemonia and Trans Ischemic Attacks (TIA - otherwise known as a mini-stroke). She wanted nothing more than to be at home, though her dementia and alzheimer's made that increasingly difficult, even with an in-home care nurse. This last time she went to the hospital with kidney failure, and we knew it was going to end in death. However, it was the waiting that really got to me. When could we plan the funeral, what about travel plans for family? Was she really going to find a way to get stronger and beat this one too? We had known she was sick, and had beaten a rough case of pnuemonia last fall, when we were certain it would lead to death then. It has not been easy. And when she died, we had the chance to gather as a family, celebrate her life, and our extended family, and remember all that she had done, where she had been in her life, and how she impacted ours. Now we are trying to find the best way to keep on. One of the fun things about that has been the relationship of our family with the care-giver grandma had. Marianne just celebrated her citizenship and my aunts and uncles and parents all threw her a great party. She followed that up with the delivery of a new baby girl just last month. We have found that life goes on, and legacies are made in the relationships we form in the process.
The birth of a new child for Anna and me this coming July will bring all kinds of new transitions. But in the meantime, there is a lot of waiting (I am told that the waiting seems even longer to the mother than to the father-as the mother "gets it" much earlier, and many men take until the birth to finally "get it", at least that is what our doctor said). There is the buildup of waiting before you tell the folks, and yet things have actually begun. This is a precarious time, as one false slip of the tongue can really set a fire going before you are ready to share, and what happens if the baby is lost to a miscarriage. Then there is the anticipation time, with all the people having been told, while the baby is not yet here. I summarize this with an illustration from my niece. Orli was here with my sister for my grandmother's funeral, and had been told that Anna was pregnant. So the first question Orli had for Anna was, "Where's the baby?" Orli was ready to see the new cousin. Anna very kindly told her that the baby was still in her tummy waiting until July to be born. The next morning Orli came out and greeted Anna with, "Where's the baby?" Once again Anna said, "not here yet." Orli responded, "It's still in your tummy?" This continued every day that Orli was with us. And yet, we know that when the great day arrives, this transition is done, and we now have to transition to being "actual parents". From this I realize that there never stops being a time of transition. The question is whether we are willing to greet it with expectation and excitement, or fear and trembling for all the things that could go wrong, or were wrong before that we know will only be amplified in this new adventure. Anna and I are working on making sure that we focus on the joy of a new life in our midst.
Last fall, Anna and I had another transitional moment. We decided to ask for a new appointment for July 2008. We have had long conversations with several District Superintendents over the past few years about what we understand our gifts and graces to be. We discussed whether it was time for a move or not, and this year seemed to be the time. I did tell the SPRC when I made that request, prior to Charge Conference, and that it would be in the hands of the cabinet leading into the new year. Anna and I have been held in suspense during this time, and we have tried to do our best to find our balances for time with each other, particularly as we have experienced the new life in our midst, for the church, and for our own health. I am grateful to the SPRC for their diligent work in trying to determine character traits and qualities they heard from you as the congregation, and they saw within their own discussions for the purposes of finding the best pastor to help Del Rosa UMC move into the next phase in its history. In the course of this process I have made a commitment, regardless of what would happen in July, to settle us into a plan for the future of Del Rosa and to see us move forward on rennovations we committed to several years ago - new roof, new electrical box with wiring, a kitchen remodel and review of handicap facilities, all of which would enable us to examine our mission and ministry more carefully and with more opportunities to connect to the community we are called to serve.