I am not very good at speaking sentimentally, especially in front of too many people. I just wanted to say how much I will miss everyone here in Minnesota. I spent this evening with some friends from Solomon's Porch. I didn't express very well how much you all mean to me. These past four years have not been my easiest stretch of life, but SP has been a solid foundation for me, a bastion of strength for my soul, and the spirit has strung himself through our meetings, our comings and goings, our simple interactions. I can think of no group of people I would rather call my friends. And aside from my actual family, I can think of no other people I would rather call my family. You have each blessed me in your own special ways.
I did not expect to cry when I left. I've been so sure of my destination, so unflinching in my resolve, I've given little thought to how much I will leave behind. People have asked me if I am nervous, and I invariably say no, because I can find no doubts in my mind about my choice to leave. But this past week I have felt wasted and tense and plagued by headaches, and I find myself needing to let loose, to shed tears, craving to exhaust the unasnwered pangs of loss and release the flood of sorrow. I love you all deeply. I can only leave with you this message of my deepest affection and my utmost gratitude. Though I leave now, please know that I will be with you in spirit. My prayers and my thoughts are with you. May the peace of Christ hover over you always, and may God bless you with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. Thank you for your friendship, and thank you for your love and encouragement.
With great affection and with tears, I bid you all a good New Year, and I hope to see you again soon.