As Ms. Theologian remarked awhile back, "Walkabout" turned out to be Maxwelton's M.O. and he has repeatedly gone over the edge (of the deck) and taken a walk in the wide wide world (for those who still remember the story of the Poky Little Puppy). The reason I'm not more anxious about this is that he always comes back, leaps up many vertical feet to access the deck again, and appears at the door meowing to come in. Sometimes this is fairly late in the evening; sometimes it's after only a few minutes. But so far he has always come back.
As the picture shows, however, he stays pretty close to home. I think something has startled him "out there" and he realizes that he may need to make a dash for it. So I can usually see him out there somewhere, a white flash on the green grass or under the huge Doug fir whose lowest branches create a shelter.
This is good practice for me as I hone my pastoral M.O. of non-anxious presence, the skill that says to the congregation "I'm not uptight about this, I am calm in the face of crisis, I will not go nuts on you over this crisis". And I find myself reassuring Lily and Loosy, who look both relieved and anxious when he disappears for awhile.
As our new building progresses, I find that I am thinking about what to expect when we throw open our new doors and welcome the community in. Am I up to the challenge of preaching UUism to a growing congregation? Will I remember all those new faces and names? What will it be like to be in a spanking new space? Will we succeed in growing rapidly and integrating many new people? Will our planning ahead be sufficient or will situations pop up that we have not considered?
I have confidence that we will rise to all the challenges and be successful, but there's also an uncertainty that I can't dispell, despite our success so far. So Max is contributing to my ability to maintain a non-anxious presence in the face of challenge and new growth. Thank you, Maxie, for teaching me.