It’s Monday, my last Monday at Mayo Clinic. At the end of the day on Wednesday I will leave Mayo as ‘retired.’ As I've noted before, I won’t really be retired, but just ending my employment at Mayo, with a few weeks before starting to serve as pastor at the Jicarilla Apache Reformed Church in Dulce, NM.
I have tried to savor these last days, the final week at Mayo, the final week of a 27 year career. Doing a particular task for perhaps the last time. Walking through a hallway for the last time. Having a conversation with a particular person for the last time.
And my awareness of this sense of finality has been aided by two things. One has been my co-workers frequently asking me “How many more days?” And the other has been in conversations with people I have worked with for many years, as we talk about what it is like to leave and to stay. I have both asked the question and had the conversation in the past, although it was I who was staying and someone else who was leaving.
As my career at Mayo winds down I feel both at home there and a bit detached. I am separating from Mayo, while my co-workers and the Clinic will be continuing on. I am stepping off of one path, but not quite stepping onto the other. I feel betwixt and between, in a middle and unresolved place. No longer fully part of either one place or the other.
As I was thinking about this I remembered reading a book, Resident Aliens, several years ago. The main point of the book was that Christians live in the world, but not as people who are fully of the world. Christians are people who, because they have placed their faith in Jesus and are united to Him as His disciples, are really citizens of another place. They are called to live and serve in the world, in the knowledge that their true homeland is somewhere else. As they live, grow and serve in Christ they do so as foreigners, in a foreign land.
In his letter to the Philippians the apostle Paul writes,
“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
Experiencing the end of my time at Mayo and anticipating the beginning of our time in Dulce has heightened my awareness that home isn't really at Mayo, it won’t be in Dulce, nor will I truly find it in the space I share with my family. As a Christian, home, in the truest sense of the word, is that place prepared for me by my Savior, where He will one day call me to.
And lastly, as I was pondering these thoughts on my way to work this morning this song was playing on the radio, another gentle reminder from God as to where home really is. May I continue to serve God here in this world as I await the time of His choosing to bring me home. And may you do so too, to His joy and glory.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.