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THEY CAN'T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME
March 11, 2009
 
Now, here's a stroke of luck -- the very month we agree to offer a class on Galileo's argument with the Church, the Strozzi announces an exhibit on the same thing. So we can have our class on Sunday and then people can walk over to Palazzo Strozzi after church. Maybe have lunch somewhere.

Things like that happen all the time in Florence. It is not a large city, but it attracts intelligent, curious people like ants to a picnic, and they are eager to share what they know. It is a fine place for the education of adults. One thing leads to another. And another. And another.

That must be why my writing has gotten so spotty. I have allowed myself to become consumed by my parish, eaten alive. Well, of course -- you're supposed to be dedicated to your parish. I see, though, that a choice between writing and parish ministry must be made. Again. I see that I haven't the energy to do both well -- not here, anyway, where so many tempting projects offer themselves.

But then, where is the church where good things don't cry out to be done? There isn't one. Amazing things cannot help but happen when people come together in God's name. The spirit empowers us, firing our imaginations. Nothing is beyond its power.

My time here in Florence is half over. Would you stay if you could, someone asks? I say that I don't even allow myself to entertain the notion. It is an ironclad rule that interim clergy may not become permanent, and it is a good rule -- if we could stay on, we almost always would, and parish searches would be meaningless. Instead, we come for a season, charged with discerning the gifts of a place in partnership with people who may have forgotten they even had some of those gifts. They blossom like flowers, and together we breathe deeply of their goodness. And then we bid each other godspeed.

Off into separate futures we will go. But we leave parts of ourselves with each other. I am part of everyone I have ever known and loved, So are you. So are we all.
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The way you wear your hat,
The way you sip your tea.
The memory of all that,
No, they can't take that away from me.

The way your smile just beams,
The way you sing off key,
The way you haunt my dreams,
No, they can't take that away from me.

We may never, never meet again
On the bumpy road to love.
But I'll always, always keep the memory of

The way you hold your knife,
The way we danced 'til three.
The way you changed my life,
No, they can't take that away from me.
No, they can't take that away from me.
-- George and Ira Gershwin
"They Can't Take That Away From Me"
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Crafton
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