A wonderful new bishop was sustained in our ward this morning, and I was released. The moment our stake president announced my release from the pulpit, I felt a change, as if there was power in the very word release.
Within hours, thanks to a very kind gesture, we were on our way to Little Cottonwood Canyon where we are staying at The Cliff Lodge at Snowbird. We have had a quiet, relaxing evening. In fact the whole day was remarkably quiet. I told my wife I have been running on pure adrenaline this whole week, so it was good to experience some downtime today.
But, to tell you the truth, I feel empty. The mantle was taken today, and I am shivering in the cold. Yes, I am sad, but not forsaken. I will dearly miss my close connection with the members of our ward, but I am still a friend to each of them, or wish to be. I love them all, though my love now is somewhat, er, well, irrelevant.
Our allegiance goes with the mantle, not the man. That is how it should be. It is the mantle that enables a man to serve in a calling that goes way beyond his mortal ability. It is the Lord that bestows the gifts necessary to serve, and that is the only way one may serve the needs of a ward for a season.
That time is up for me. And I already feel that part of my heart is missing.
Yesterday evening, our Relief Society brought me a gift, a denim quilt made with over 70 squares, each signed with ink, paint or embroidery by members of the ward. It’s my new mantle, one of comfort and memory. I love it! I know it took many hours to make, and each square represents a special connection for me. My thanks to every one of you who composed poems and quips, hand-stitched hearts, and expressed appreciation.
Thank you all. I love you. You don’t know how much I will miss being your bishop.