Reflections on my retiring friend.

She’s been attending the same church her whole life. She’s been on staff for two-thirds of those years. And last evening, we celebrated her retirement.

Celebrated her on the occasion of her retirement is a more accurate description. To celebrate a retirement feels, well, odd. But to be able to let Marsha know that she is appreciated, that she has encouraged people to try new things, to take scary steps, that’s a good thing. It’s like hearing part of the eulogies before you are gone. When you can be grateful and humbled.

Marsha led music, I suppose. But really, she led people who sang and played music. Because she cares about the people.

I really don’t know Marsha for her music, however. I know her for story. Marsha and I share the burden of attaching stories to every object in our offices, every piece of paper. They all have hashtags, they all trigger memories of events that no one else remembers or cares about. Those links to stories make sorting through the piles on our desks difficult. They make throwing things away difficult.

But they make reading the Bible very interesting. Marsha and I talk from time to time about what we are discovering as we read the Bible as story. The threads that we see running from beginning to end, threads that we are only beginning to see after several decades of reading verse by verse, chapter by chapter. She gets so excited. they are fun conversations.

I know that she has adjustments ahead. more than forty years of leaning into the wind makes you need to learn to stand differently when the wind changes. But I am confident that her renewed passion for an old story will serve her well.

Stop in, Marsha. We’ll talk.

And well done, friend. Well done.