By Maria Evans
I often joke with parishioners at each of my interim assignments, “I was called to be an interim because I’ve never been very good at long-term relationships.” Yet, here we are, in what became a long term relationship, albeit a long-distance one. It’s hard to believe that we have been sharing the Daily Office together every other Friday (and sometimes, every Friday) since October 2011–and that relationship has come to an end after nearly 12 years.
How do I even begin to express my gratitude for over a decade of the privilege of sharing the discipline of the Daily Office with you? I only know we have been companions on the way for a long time, winding through many twists and turns in my own life…moving from a full time pathologist to a part-time one…sharing with you the long journey that led me to priesthood…even allowing you to accompany me through my diagnosis of a small but very curable breast cancer in 2014. Thank you for being a companion on the way for a long time.
My life vignettes, of course, are only a portion of the story. I know in my heart you have been on a journey also, and I hope and pray that somehow, my reflections and musings have been a positive influence on yours.
The photo choice for this goodbye letter was very deliberate. As someone who loves to grow heirloom vegetables, a very real portion of this hobby is remembering to save the seeds every year from my heirloom plants. My wish (and my prayer) for you is that I hope you will remember to “save the seeds” of the fruit that nourished you from Speaking to the Soul, plant those seeds, see what grows…and share the bounty of your harvest!
I am sad to see the end of our time together. At the same time, I have so much gratitude for it: Gratitude for you and your faithfulness in using Speaking to the Soul in your own devotions and disciplines. Gratitude for the talented cadre of writers who have nourished me through their submissions here. Gratitude for the many people who have curated this site and made it a spiritual home for so many for so long. Gratitude especially for the late Rev. Ann Fontaine, who talked me into being a regular columnist.
In that vein, it seems fitting to memorialize our time together with the words many of us learned from Ann when she expressed her condolences over a death:
“Speaking to the Soul–may it rest in peace and rise in glory!”