In a few hours, the Family Anonymous climbs into a big silver bird to begin a sure-to-be-gawrshawful flight from Transylvania to Pennsylvania. Via Munich and DC. It wouldn't be that bad, except that we'll be doing it on zero sleep, with a four-year-old in tow. (And of course, the two layovers put our checked baggage in peril.)
Beyond that, though, we are having some strange emotions about the trip. We explored them a little over at the parish soapbox. The bottom line is that when people say, "Oh, you're going home," we don't know how to answer. Home? What does that mean?
Father A. has been a vagrant for most of his adult life. Although he has lived, for the most part, in and around New York City, that sounds more stable than it has really been. We've long since lost count of our various homes -- a dozen, maybe, since 1985. Probably more. Ordination has barely slowed the pace; Fr. A and the Missus have, between them, lived or served parishes in all of our synod's four quadrants, and most of its many conferences. Not to mention Central Europe.
We're not alone in this. Some pastors are called to a church after seminary, and stay there until they retire. Honestly, that was our plan as well. But a lot of us (and the proportion has likely grown over the past half-century) move around like circus people. It can be exciting -- a fresh charge of adrenaline each time -- but it can also get exhausting.
We knew an Episcopal priest who owned a cabin in the Adirondacks. It was a modest little place, five miles in on a dirt road, unreachable in winter without skis and a great deal of stamina. It is not likely that she and her husband ever spent more than a few weeks there at one time. But, as they explained it to us, this cabin was important to them, because -- wherever else they went -- it meant that they had a place they could go home to.
As far as we can tell, they sold it about three years back.
All of which is our way of saying that the adrenaline thing is getting old. In about two years, we'll rotate out of our present unusual post. And after that, we're thinking we'd like to settle down for the duration -- which, given the current state of our pension plan, means until about 75.
It's not too late for us to find a church, preach and die. Ideally, over a longish period of time, with an extended spell as Pastor Emeritus tucked in there. But you get the idea.