Today is not only my last day in my current job but it’s also my last day as a resident San Francisco. Surreal. I moved here almost exactly 14 years ago. My dad drove me out here and he was really nervous for me. He was afraid I wouldn’t make it in such a difficult and expensive city. I completely understand his anxiety because it is a difficult place to live on a number of levels but I’ve made it. I’m pretty proud of myself, honestly. It’s not been easy, but here I am.
My job has been an interesting ride. Since this is public I’m not going to go into any level of detail but suffice it to say, it’s a politically charged environment and things aren’t always what they seem. I’m staying with this company, however, because overall, it’s an amazing place to work. I’ve met some really great people and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve said many times that this job has been the most pastoral gig I’ve ever had, including church jobs, and it truly has been.
I also had the privilege of attending a church and becoming friends with Bruce Reyes-Chow, who taught me more about being a healthy pastor than anyone else I’ve met. Most of the pastors with and for whom I’ve worked have been colossal messes – made worse by the fact that they weren’t aware of it.
In no particular order:
1. Boundaries are key. I’m a fixer/helper and I really want everyone to be happy and not in pain. Unfortunately, I can’t help everyone. I can’t drop everything and fix your issues. I can do what I can when I can, but I’ve done much better at accepting my limitations and humanity.
2. It’s my job to do what I’m called to do and not worry about what the response could be. I can’t control how someone will react to my actions, but if I’m called to do something, I just have to do it.
3. People can be kind of awful but also kind of great, and it’s better to generalize the latter. I will assume the best until you’ve shown me otherwise, in which case, I will be guarded but not unkind.
4. In seminary, I learned an even deeper love for the Bible and it made me more liberal (bwaaa haaa haaa – take that SBC! – kidding, but that’s what happened)
5. I am a bit of a foodie. I will turn my nose up at awful food, especially if it’s expensive.
6. I’ve learned a lot about forgiveness while I’ve been here. I’ve experienced some loss of friendships that have really hurt and have had to let that pain go, acknowledge my contribution to the demise of the relationships and move forward. I’ve always been a grudge holder, which is a family trait, but I feel like I’ve made good strides in breaking that generational pattern.
7. I’ve become even more anti-mega church. I already saw that as a deeply flawed system but I’ve come to see it as highly toxic and devoid of accountability. While there are some doing good work, they are primarily incubators for shallow spirituality and neutered cultural Christianity. I know. Some day I’ll learn not to mince words.
8. I have been the recipient of some significant generosity and I want to be a more generous person. I look forward to being in a place that accommodates that.
This is all I can think of now, but I’m sure there will be more. I have some anxiety about starting over in a new city. Most of the folks I knew there have left, so it’s like I’m moving to a place where I know no one but am familiar with the geography. It’s also exciting to have a fresh start in this new decade of 40.