For those stepping out of parish ministry
The rhythms are different
this side of the pulpit.
Like walking ashore
on rocking waves,
your sea legs may persist awhile,
unsteadying your gait
and haunting your dreams
with the sensation of motion
in the midst of unmoving crowds.
You will look up at the night sky
and forget you do not have to plot a course
between the rocks and the reef,
charting seasons and casting stories
by force of longstanding habit.
You may not miss the grueling hours
or the demands of captaining your crew,
the churn of stomach in stormy waters
or the constant vigilance for dangers hidden
just below the surface,
but at times you will look out upon the shining, shifting ocean
and find yourself unmoored by dazzling splendor
or grim eternity,
the tides that keep on changing
while you are standing still.
There are blessings in this landlubber’s life,
as all the throngs who never went to sea
can easily testify.
But have patience with yourself
as you relearn how to walk on solid ground.
For you have seen beyond the horizon
and you yet carry with you
the knowledge of winds and weather,
rising and falling,
harnessing the elements
to move through time and space.
Here, too, is Sabbath
and soaring toward mystery,
even in stillness.
Even on land.
© 2014 Kerry Greenhill