We've lived all over this vast country. Made many moves as Mike's HR career evolved and making transfers from state to state was a necessary part of the deal. We became corporate gypsies - schlepping our two sons from California to Minnesota to South Carolina, back to So Cal and then on to Oklahoma. All of that before we moved to Portland 16 years ago when a headhunter for a Beaverton shoe manufacturer lured Mike (and me) back to our beloved west coast. By that time our boys were launched, and while we tried to convince them to settle in Portland along with us, and they both did give it a try, ultimately they opted to land in more sunny climes - one to San Diego and the other to Bend.
Many of you know that Mike and I walked 500 miles this summer completing a pilgrimage across northern Spain, along the Camino de Santiago. It was an amazing physical and spiritual experience. We've been asked many times how this experience may have changed us.
Upon reflection, we came back from our pilgrimage with a couple of life changing insights: that we want to live more simply; and, that relationships are more important than stuff. Didn't take us long to realize that the relationship we most cherish is with our new granddaughter who happens to live in Bend. And so we are moving on. To live in community, with our son, Casey, and his young family (5 doors down - now that's community!) in a house half the size we are leaving behind. Our older son, Toby, in San Diego, is still hopeful we'll eventually land down there...and we just may, as most all of our family and our roots are there...but for now, we want to hang with Miss Marley and her mom and dad.
Of all the locales we've called home, we love Portland the most (except for the prevailing soggy/grey weather!). And of all the churches we've attended along the way, MOTA has been our favorite. By far. For 15 years we've been emerged in this amazingly welcoming community - led by enlightened, yet humble, ordained and lay ministers - growing in the ecumenical enrichment of two faiths intentionally merged. During our tenure, we especially enjoyed working/hanging/bonding with the teens for several years and joining together with a talented team in creating the labyrinth. And, most importantly, we've been so very blessed with many enduring friendships we've made within this community. We will surely miss it all!
But our journey continues, and we're following our hearts as they lead us to a small, cul de sac house, on the eastern edge of Bend that backs up to the "wilds" (sagebrush, wild turkeys, quail and deer, oh my!), where very soon we'll witness our granddaughter's first steps as she toddles down the sidewalk from her house to ours.
We bid you all a fond farewell for now, but will plan on coming back often to visit.
Nari and Mike Maidl
(p.s…as we sat among you all on Christmas Eve, attending our last service before we leave for Bend, we listened to Mike Gettel-Gilmartin welcome us all, I turned to my Mike and asked: "Do you remember that the very first time we came to MOTA Mike G-G was the presider???" And we thought, wow, we've come a long way from that first visit when there were barely 35 in attendance to cozying up with a couple hundred on our last visit! And, we're reminded, that while some things change, some remain the same…and so it goes…and so it goes…)