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The hardest part wasn’t letting go, it was closing the door September 17, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Life.
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The hardest part wasn’t letting go, it was closing the door.

It tore me apart. 2pm: closing time. I fetched the display stands in then went to the door — and couldn’t close it. The finality hit me: this was the last time I’d be closing that door and I’d never be opening it again.

I stood outside. I wandered back in. I went out again. I went over to the reception desk, just across from the shop doorway, and made some small talk with Juliette, the receptionist. I couldn’t tell her what was wrong, just sort of looked at her and looked around hopelessly, blinking back tears.

A student wandered by. He was unaware of what was going on. Juliette told him it was my last day. We shook hands and wished one another well.

Peter, the school accountant, came down. We were due to run through the invoicing procedures with Nick but Nick wasn’t back from his lunchbreak. I told Peter what was wrong and only just managed not to burst into tears. He put a hand on my shoulder but he looked as lost as I felt and said he’d come back later.

I stood just outside the shop doorway. This was it. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bring myself to close the door.

Then David, my former line manager, came by. He understood. He came into the shop with me and we closed the door. At least, I think that’s what happened. Maybe he stood outside or in the doorway, but we agreed to keep in touch and the door was closed.

Another interlude from Coldplay: My song is love…

Now… how does it feel now? A deep sadness, with more questions than answers. I’ve wanted to leave for over a year now but still, somehow, it breaks my heart. I see my colleagues, brothers, sisters but above all friends and it seems that these beautiful people are set adrift on an ocean of uncertainty, thrown about in the wind and the waves.

In the midst of that uncertainty I ask: when Jesus was caught out in a storm, how many of the disciples did he throw overboard?

I ask: what is this institution, London School of Theology — and why? To me LST’s purpose can be summed up in three words: equipping God’s people. That’s what it’s about, that’s why so many of us down the years have given so much of ourselves to it, and what so many of us have gained from it.

And today, it hurts.

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