At First United Methodist, we're making plans to say farewell to Pastor Tim Fahrenthold and his wife, Claudia, at the end of June. Tim has been called to serve the church in Uvalde, and we in Mason have been called to help them with their move, and to accept a new pastor starting in July.We already know that our new pastor will be Colleen Haley. She and her husband, Bill, will come to Mason from Lake Travis after having served in Fredericksburg and Columbus. I've been fortunate enough to meet the two of them, and I think they're going to be a wonderful addition to Mason.
But, I'm really going to miss Tim and Claudia. They came in to Mason six years ago and quickly became a part of the community. Everyone loved the two of them, and they loved Mason so much, they purchased a home. They're keeping the home, and this will be where they return when they decide to finally retire.
It's always sad when you have to say goodbye to someone. Yet, we do it all through our lives. When we're young and growing up, friends move into town, stay for a year or two, then move away. Our older relatives teach us valuable lessons, and then go on to their rewards, and we say goodbye to them.
College is all about hello and goodbye. We meet so many new people every day during that period of our lives, we can barely keep up with all of them. Some are worth keeping around for a while, others we quickly learn to let go their own way. There are dorm mates, neighbors, classmates, teachers, administrators and social contacts. Some people will stay in touch for years, others will be forgotten on the final day of class.
As young adults, we start meeting new people at our jobs. We socialize with them and meet their friends. We go to church with them, meet other new people, and keep expanding our contacts. We may even meet someone special and make them a more permanent part of our lives. During this part of our growth into adulthood, we tend to start making friends who will remain with us through our lives.
There will always be a handful of folks who stay in our lives for only a short while; but, remain important to us. Though we may not have been around them for a long period, they are important enough to us that we make sure we stay in contact. We may just send them Christmas cards, the occasional email and make a random facebook comment; but, we maintain our connection. When, on those isolated times we have the chance to sit down with them once more, it's as if we've never been apart.
I've been fortunate enough, during my 52 years, to have many people go through my life. I, like others in Mason, knew most of the town when I was growing up through school. At college, we turned our apartment complex into its own little community, and we all got to know one another better. During my early years of work, I became friends with many of my coworkers, attended their weddings, welcomed their children, consoled them in their losses.
And now, I am an adult. I've lost many people, friends and family, and told them goodbye. I've watched people move away to other towns, or move on to other lives. I've watched people die and held their hands as we made our farewells. And, I've watched people just drift away into a different life. Sometimes they return, sometimes they disappear forever.
Tim and Claudia aren't going to be that far away. Uvalde is just down the road in the big scheme of Texas distance. And, they will be returning to us eventually.
And we will welcome Bill and Colleen, for however long we have them. Life is all about hellos and goodbyes. They will, if we allow them, make us better. All of them, the good ones and the bad ones, contribute to who we become.
And someone will say goodbye to us, and we will leave an impression on them.
It’s all just my opinion.