It has been a very emotional couple of weeks. After a lot of soul-searching, prayer, thought and conversation, we made the difficult decision to leave Corrymeela, 5 months earlier than originally planned. I will miss many things and people which we have left behind, but in spite of the many tears I have shed, I feel it is the right decision and a sense of peace pervades my sadness.
We made the decision and announced it to our fellow volunteers almost a fortnight ago, and on Tuesday we left Corrymeela, not knowing if or when we will go back. It was with sadness that we turned to wave our final goodbyes.
As well as being sad to say goodbye to many special people who I have been used to seeing everyday and now don’t know when I will see again; my great sadness is the disappointment of discovering that something I thought I would be able to deeply believe in, something I felt fitted so closely with my vision of the world; turned out to be a very different place to the one I had imagined. When I look back to the excitement and hope with which I approached this year, full of expectancy that here was place to whose vision I could really sign up; I am deeply sad that it has ended in this way. But reflecting on what Corrymeela is, in my own real experience of it, I also know that, while there have been many great experiences and special moments, it is indeed time to “brush the sand from my sandals” and move on.
And while I am sad because of what I am leaving behind, there is also excitement: the months ahead are filled with possibilities and potential. The search for what I am looking for, whatever that may be, goes on. Maybe I will never find perfection, if I am honest, I doubt I will; but I am not going to give up seeking it, at least not yet.
So I will miss you Coventry and everyone in it: I will miss cups of tea and long conversations; I will miss mad themed parties and walks by the beach with spectacular views; I will miss film nights and art nights and too much to eat; I will miss thoughtful reflection and the cheesiest of jokes; I will Fred the moose and other silly songs; I will miss Thursday night football and Sunday night dancing; I will miss community dinners and breakfast club; I will miss chatting in the kitchen and worship in the Croi; I will miss sharing sadness and joy, excitement and frustration. I will miss you.
On the other hand, while I will miss the everyday encounters, I will not miss your friendship, because I am sure that, even if we don’t see each other for some time, the friendships will last long beyond this departure.