Letter from Rev. Barbara ten Hove
You can’t be a minister as long as I have (over 30 years now) and not come face to face with aging, illness and death. The Buddha was right all those years ago when he taught how important it was to encounter these realities directly. But, it’s hard. It’s hard because if you love people, losing them is tough. And we are made for loving, aren’t we? So we’re going to hurt when those we love get sick, grow old and ultimately die.
As most of you know, this winter (now well into spring) has been a season of loss for both Jaco and me. When his father was diagnosed with terminal heart disease in early February, we made a decision to care for him in his home as best we could. It hasn’t been easy.
We used up our Cedars Annual Leave first, then finally had to draw upon the Family Leave clause we thankfully have in our Letter of Agreement with you. Jaco has been with him steadily since Feb. 2 (working from the desert of southern California through March before we went on Family Leave in April) while I have gone back and forth. It’s been extremely fulfilling and terribly exhausting.
With the support of the Cedars Board, we determined that with the unexpectedly slow progression of Dad’s disease, it made sense of me to return to work while Jaco remains, at least for now, on Family Leave. As you might imagine, it’s hard for us to be apart at this time but we felt it was important for me to return to you and the meaningful work of our ministry. We don’t know when this situation will come to its sad conclusion but we certainly will provide updates as things unfold.
The Board and I have also talked about the challenges I face trying to manage only one half of what is designed to be a full-time co-ministry. I can’t physically, mentally or spiritually manage to do all of my job and Jaco’s. So, I plan to focus on what is most important and will ask your forgiveness in advance if I can’t say yes to everything that needs doing at Cedars.
Jaco and I recognize that this has been a very difficult and unusual situation for us and for Cedars. We are profoundly grateful to everyone who has stepped up to care for us and for each other.
I will be in the pulpit (preaching a sermon Jaco wrote!) this Sunday, May 8. I look forward to seeing you there.
All the best, Rev. Barbara