Sunday, November 26, 2006

T minus Zero ... we have lift-off

Well. This is interesting. I wonder what tomorrow will be like? I seem to be unemployed. What do you do when God tells you to resign? Well ... you resign. At the close of the day on November 26, 2006 my resignation becomes official. That means in 47 minutes I have zero obligations ... zero calendared events ... zero responsibilities. (Ok, we all know that really is not true because I'm a husband, a dad and a granddad. But you get my point.)

Church this morning was surreal. I mean, it was a good experience. I enjoyed telling the people what God gave me to tell them. But it was the responses that really nailed me. I want to give you an example. This one left me in a puddle. I do not have permission to tell you who wrote it so just consider it from an "anonymous teenager." But it pretty much leaves me humbled and over whelmed. Please read with a heart full of grace. I wish that I was half as good as this person thinks that I am. Hopefully he was just seeing Jesus in me.

"I know you have to leave but I wish you wouldn't go.
All those people you have touched, some you didn't even know.
All the love you've shared, the smiles that you gave
All the lives that crossed your path, the one's you've helped to save.

It's hard to say goodbye but I'll try to find a way
I swore I wouldn't cry, that everything would be ok
I will never forget what you've taught us; I will try everything I can
To be everything I can be, with this image of a better man.

I thank you for your prayers but now I give them back to you.
I hope that they find you in whatever you choose to do
I'll carry your words with me always, with all the loving wisdom that you gave
And I'll walk forever as a symbol to you, as a life you helped to save."

What do you do with kids like that? How do you tell them good-bye? I guess you just get up and do it. And then I guess you hug them and cry with them and remind them that you love them and that, because of the love of Christ it will all be ok. But it sure hurts. It does not look ok.

I woke up this morning to find my front lawn covered with signs, all facing my house. They said cool things like, "We love you! You are the best youth pastor ever!" They were colorful and cheerful. And some of "my kids" made them and snuck into my yard in the middle of the night and planted them so that I would see them when I woke up. And then at church, after I finished speaking, the kids sent two representatives down to the altar and they presented me with a bible that they had all signed. A year book of sorts. Except that it is a book with no stretching of the truth or dispensing of lies. It is the Word of God and my favorite people bought it for me, signed it, and asked me not to forget them. THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

I'm really tired tonight. Three years of constant battle has just come to a close. The wounds are still fresh. Some are scarred over but even those are tender. It does not take much to make blood flow again. But now I am done. 23 and 2/3rds years have come and gone. And now I can rest. I have great plans to do just that. And to write. And to follow up on a few resume's that I have out. And to follow God's direction to "Delight (myself) in the Lord and He will give (me) the desires of (my) heart. Right now I think I might not wake up until January. I doubt that I can pull that off. But it is so nice to know that I served the King, doing what He told me to do at every turn. And now, at His direction, I can rest. And heal. And worship. And love Him. And love people.

The mission clock reads "T minus Zero ... we have lift-off" of the next chapter of life. I am anxious to see what it holds. I suppose we shall see. I don't want to let my young friend down. I want to keep being used by God to touch lives. I can touch them more effectively when I am past the gut searing fatigue and the heart breaking grief that has been in such abundance over the last few years. I want to feel loved, human, healthy and full again. And tomorrow begins that part of the new journey.

If you are reading this and you are a part of FBCB please know that I love you. I cherish you. And I gratefully and with all confidence lay you in the Hands of our Father. He's never droped one of us yet. He will not start with you.

And, oh yeah, that "Pass It On" closing ... way over the top. But somehow I kind of loved it. "HEY WORLD!"