23 July 2013
When someone plans a trip like Terri and I have been on these past 8 weeks there is no way to know what will transpire. We had our list of places we wanted to see. We had our anticipations of experiences we wanted to have. We knew we only had so much time to travel and I knew I had certain responsibilities to fulfill. These ‘knowns’ were like the outline of a paint-by-number sketch. The actual colors that get filled in between those lines are an unknown until the artist picks up the brush and begins to paint, or in our case, your feet hit the ground and the rubber meets the road, and the experiences begin to happen.
We have had so many wonderful experiences in Scotland it will be hard to recount them all. Terri and I know that it will take us a while to process the many turns in the roads, scenic views, moments of laughter and the joyful surprises, and the incidents that took our breaths away either because of the beauty or because of the terror. We understand that our friends and family back in Jackson and beyond will have a polite tolerance for the short version of our Scotland time. We understand that most of what we have experienced will be lodged between our souls and be part of the glue that solidifies the foundation of our first ten years of marriage upon which we build our next years of life together.
One of the blessings that Terri and I have experienced is that of being a pastoral husband and wife team. It is not that we are not a team in Jackson, but, because our marriage started half way through my tenure at PCJH, and because she works full-time at the hospital, it is just different. People here have only known us as a pastoral team. We have learned a good deal about how we work and how well we work together. Truly this has been a great blessing.
Dunbar is a wonderful community in a beautiful country. Jackson Hole, Wyoming is a beautiful region of a great country and a wonderful community. We have been blessed to experience both. In addition, like many of us, over the years I have been blessed to see many incredible landscapes, vistas, in various places around our globe. However, what I have discovered holds me to a place is not the natural beauty but the people. It is the people of the Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole and the Jackson Hole community to whom I anticipate returning. We have shared a great deal together. You have taught me more than I will ever be able to express about the love and grace of God, the dreaming and pursuing of visions, seeing dreams become reality, and the practical ways of sharing God’s love through Jesus Christ with our neighbors and friends as we pass on the faith and inviting them in.
It is the people of Dunbar that I will miss more than anything else. They have been warm, generous, and patient with us foreigners. They have been open and even desirous to experience new thoughts and new ways. They have shared their homes and their families, shared their food and their faith, and shared times of prayer and worship. We have been able to laugh together and do some recreating together. They have shared with us the stories of their lives, the history of their community and treated us as honored guests. We have felt the love of Jesus Christ in their presence.
It is the people that make saying good-bye difficult. All I can say and Terri along with me can say is, “Thank you, Dunbar and Dunbar Parish Church, for welcoming us in. We will take you with us as we return to the United States and wherever we go you will be in our hearts. May God continue to richly bless you as you walk with Him.”