Friday, May 29, 2009

Unknown user or password incorrect.

My assistant at my old church emailed me earlier this week and asked if I was ready for her to remove my email account from the system.  I told her yes and promptly forgot about it.  Thursday night I logged in - or tried to - only to find that I no longer had the old email account.

The blue web page had only one line of text on it:  Unknown user or password incorrect.

Suddenly I'm an unknown user on that old email account, and it caused the strangest rush of grief.  I'm really gone.  I can't go back.  Another piece of my identity as pastor of Willow Meadows Baptist Church is gone.  

I love where I am.  It's a great fit and I'm really thriving at FBC Gaithersburg and happy to be back in the metro DC area.  But I gave nearly seven years of my life to serve the people of WMBC and it's something more than eerie to read Unknown user or password incorrect after logging in to a webmail account almost every day for nearly 2400 days.

Leaving WMBC has been one of the hardest things I've ever done because our family has become enmeshed with the many families there.  Like one of those tentacled brain tumors that cannot be extracted without damaging the brain itself, I'm wondering if full extraction is ever possible?  Will the pain go away?  Can I ever leave another church again?  

"It's too painful," my wife says.  "I don't have many more of these moves in me."   She's not talking about packing and unpacking either - she's talking about leaving the people we love.

And that's substantially more substantial than changing addresses, email or snail mail.  I can't imagine a day when the people of WMBC say Unknown user or password incorrect to me, and I know I can't say it to them, or the many friends we've shared life with in Houston.  But my old email account reminded me bluntly and coldly that I am no longer the pastor of WMBC.

And my training as minister reminds me that we grieve much because we have loved much. 


Todd said...

Dang gena!
That hurts to read because I just sent out my weekly youth email, and your email bounced back.

-a KNOWN associate pastor-

Rita said...

Hey, Gary--we miss you!