I spend the Winter months in warmer climates, as many of you know. Philip, my late husband, and I started doing that some years ago, when after his first bout of chemotherapy, he became extremely intolerant of cold temperatures, and it was necessary for him to get away from the cold. And after his death in 2020, I decided to keep going South in the winter because hey, it’s just pleasant to stick your toes in the warm sands of St. Augustine Beach in February.
One curious thing about Florida is that there are remarkable thrift shops. Think about it – nicknamed “God’s waiting room”, Florida has a disproportionate number of elderly. And when they pass away, often the family members do not wish to retrieve their belongings. So donated to a shop they go – perhaps to benefit a cause – animal shelters, etc. The thrift shops are chock full of wonderful items. I was perusing one of my favorite shops when I saw a worker lift a beautiful boat up on a sales shelf. It had a $6 price tag on it. It never made it to the shelf because I snagged it!
The upcoming Sunday, I was deacon at the St. Augustine UCC church, and the scripture readings were all about being tossed about on stormy seas. I took my little boat (pictured above) and set it on blue fabric (actually several scarves, also purchased at the thrift shop) made to look like waves on the altar table. Candles and a low bowl of water completed the table. I hope the table helped bring to life the scripture passages. Later I took it down to the beach, slid it into the surf and photographed it before leaving it with a friend for safekeeping.
The image of this little boat will now serve another purpose – it is to be our vessel on our journey as we set sail, searching for new pastoral leadership. What do we need to take with us in our boat? What are the essentials? What can we leave behind? How do we navigate? You’ll see this boat often as we wind our way through the process – as we ‘set sail’: which is our first step, just simply raising our sails as we prepare to launch a search. Soon, we hope, we will sail off in search of a new chapter.
Susan Bues for the Transition Team