This morning i joined many of my colleagues and about 1000 others as we said goodbye to the Bishop of Exeter, who’s retiring this month. Lots of things were said, lots of singing, lots of formality and celebration. In the midst of the day, there were two things I want to remember, and neither of them came from ‘proper’ bits of what happened.
The first was something that the Bishop’s wife said during her thank you and farewell- I don’t know how scripted it was, but I liked it. She said this:
I’ve simply used what I had, where I was, when I could
Really humble, really inspiring woman. Really cool.
The second thing that stuck with me was the parting comment from the Bishop to me after things had finished, just as I was saying goodbye. I said ‘take care’- meaning, y’know, take care of yourself etc, as a general slightly affectionate but not too informal way of saying ‘goodbye’, to which the Bishop replied-
No, don’t take care, take risks- too many people take care.
And he had a point- too often we want to cotton wool people, whether they be children, our partners, or those who are retiring. Too often we want to play safe in life, and to play safe with our faith. I’m often encouraging people to think that there is no retirement from life, and so no retirement from faith- we simply do different things, have different roles etc. And yet, we are allowed a break… its ok to reach the end of something and do more than simply take a breath before plunging in again… so, maybe we should live a life where we take risks, but make sure that we take care with each day…