It’s easier telling everyone this kind of thing at the same time.
This is a good thing. But it’s time for me to be going…
Below is most of the note I sent to my colleagues at Sojourners earlier today:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
~ (From Mary Oliver‘s poem, “The Summer Day”)
Dear Sojourners friends and colleagues,
I have some news to share with you that is difficult (for me at least) but wanted you to hear it from the horse’s (or mama bear’s) mouth: In a few weeks, I will be leaving the staff as Web Editor and Director of New Media.
Change is hard. There is always a certain lamenting that comes with it, even when the change is, on many levels, a good thing. This was a difficult decision but one I felt I had to make in order to follow the lead of the Spirit. Our bosses received my news earlier this week with great grace, love and support.
See the thing is, as many of you know, I didn’t become a mother until about four years ago when my husband, Maury, and I welcomed home our boy, Vasco, whom we adopted from Malawi. Vasco, is now 13 and, as any parent of a teenager will tell you, they need you during these transitional boy-to-man/girl-to-woman years perhaps more than ever before, even as they are sprouting their independent wings and pulling away from you.
Being Vasco’s mother is the single most important thing to me in the world. It is my heart’s work. Writing is my calling and vocation, but mothering goes beyond either of those things. Unfortunately, my position at Sojourners has taken me away from Vasco — both physically when I travel to the DC offices and in other ways as well. When I’m home in the SoJoWest offices (i.e. my guest room downstairs) I’m still not really here.
So I must leave you to be with him more fully (and with his father) in the community where we live among our soul friends, where my spirit is filled and fed and inspired to go and do — but from right here by the shores of the Pacific.
I have made some wonderful friends at Sojourners — more than a few I hope to keep for the rest of my life. Thank you for your hard work, your devotion to the uncommon good, your kindness and generosity of spirit. For your faith and stubborn hope that the arc of history may be long but it does, as Dr. King said, in fact bend toward justice, I am ever grateful….
I’ll leave you with the poem by Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese,” which, appropriately enough, is also the name of the festival where I heard God’s still, small voice calling me in a different direction (back home, back to being a full-time mom to my beautiful son, the joy of my life).
May the peace of the Lord be with all of you as you continue to serve the world with grace, love, and a boatload of chutzpah.
Cathleen (aka “Mama Bear”)
“Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.