Adrian has these words to say before leaving the Holywell Community for six months on secondment to Mucknell Abbey to discern his vocation to the religious life:
Before embarking on the next tacking manoeuvre on the great ship of life, turning toward and dipping my feet into the religious life I wish to say a few words to the people of Abergavenny and any other followers of this Blog.
Over the last week or two I’ve said to people that phrase that we tend to use when people move on…”I’ll miss you.” I have also had it said to me, and what do we mean when we say it, it can be a social nicety and a way of saying goodbye but it can also mean something much more profound that touches the very deepest part of the soul. What it can mean is that the recipient of such a message has a perceived quality that someone else hasn’t seen before in another person in quite the same way. That person has a gift that is admired. What this could actually be is an aspect of God that we see in a person and it touches us in a unique way. God revealing part of himself in those around us. I think it is worth taking some time to reflect further on this but if missing someone is more than just a nicety then it is worth working out what it is that you are actually missing and then once that’s been found trying to emulate it. For it is not the person themselves that is missed but the aspect of God that is revealed.
Whilst I’ve been in Abergavenny, and indeed prior to the move, in my previous work, what I’ve tried to do is keep God at the centre of my decisions, I’ve always tried to take time to pray and ask for guidance before taking any steps or preaching a message or indeed anything that is worth undertaking. God should be at the centre of our thoughts. I often fail in this regard but it is what I endeavour to do and continue to search for. It is God, who is revealing himself through us, and not us ourselves who makes situations change for the better or change direction suddenly. It is through God that I am now taking this next step on my journey, not for my own desire but to please God. I may get it wrong but because the focus remains on God he will work through that. What I do know is that no time is wasted, every step, right or wrong God will use to form us into the people he wants us to be and therefore there need be no fear in taking that step into the unknown provided the focus remains on God.
I will miss the people of Abergavenny hugely. Why? Because in spite of all the frustrations and personality clashes we can all have from time to time, the welcome that I, as a member of the Holywell Community, received was one that was warm and heartfelt and full of sincerity and the love of God. It is from here that the fruit grows, that love so pure is in the hearts of people in Abergavenny and is being revealed every day through the little conversations, through the hospitality shown, through the effort undergone to look after the churches, from the continued efforts to reach out beyond our walls to the communities in which we serve, through the care for each other. Yes we all have attributes about ourselves that we wish didn’t exist but these pale into insignificance compared to the warmth and the sincerity of our deeds for God’s Glory.
If there is one thing I’ve tried to encourage it is that focus on God rather than on our weaknesses and failings and keep that sincerity of heart pointed firmly towards the Lord through prayer. I am now moving to a new location at Mucknell Abbey where prayer and community remains the focus and will form a strong platform for further formation. The people of God within Abergavenny will also continue to be formed into the people God wishes you all to be and identifying those rare or unique attributes we will miss in other people if they weren’t there and then trying to emulate them is a great way to allow God to work through us because those attributes are of God and not just the people themselves.
That leaves me to close by saying a fond farewell to all of you and hope to see you again in the future.
Ego vobis valedico.