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October 13, 2022

Grief in the Face of Change 


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Previously, I announced our big news: Adrienne and I are stepping down as Senior Ministers of the C3Robina church.

This transition has been five years in the making. I feel joy in the fact that we know this is the right decision. I feel proud of what we have accomplished in our time as Senior Ministers, and I’m excited for this next stage in our lives. However, there is also quite a bit of grief in letting go of something we have put so much love and work into over the last thirty-one years. I have journeyed with this congregation for so long; I have participated in weddings and funerals, built friendships and mentorships, and experienced the joys and hardships alongside individuals and with our community as a whole. This role has, in part, defined my identity for decades. Letting go of this role is also surrendering a part of myself. 

The Effects of Change

Change is a certainty in our world. There is good change for which we are excited, bad change which we fear, and changes filled with uncertainty. Will it make our lives better or worse? Most frequently, change comes with mixtures of emotions. We often talk about the excitement or the anxiety that accompanies change as we look towards our future, but I have found we tend to skim over the sadness that comes with something ending. 

Addressing Grief

My practice in the past has been to ignore grief, but as I face this chance, I aim to embrace the sadness as I walk through it. One of my friends compared her transition in ministry to a transit lounge in an airport. It’s a place to talk to people, relax or feel stress in turns, and to reflect on both where you have come from and where you are now going. This analogy made me recognize that I am in a transition between past and future. 

I have found it helpful to be patient with the grieving process. Like being in an airport lounge, I know I am here for a time and I might be uncomfortable or bored or nervous, but I need to accept that a flight is coming. It’s a process. I’ve found that thinking about the next step helps to let go of the past, and celebrate what’s left behind. The grief hits me over and over again and I know I will continue to miss my work as I begin my new adventure. I remind myself that this change was right and necessary. As I transition to focus on VerveLead and developing quality mentors, I know there is still so much good to come! 

Reflection questions for those experiencing change:

  • How do you feel as you are letting go of something? (Denial, guilt, anger, disbelief and sadness are all normal to feel in the face of change)
  • What are you most reluctant to let go? 
  • What are you looking forward to the most? 
  • Who can help you reflect and process as you walk this path? 

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