Thursday, November 08, 2007

I can't think of a good title for this post

So here I sits ... propped up in my obscenely luxurious apartment. Reclining on an air mattress (I really must buy an air pump someday soon) and leaning against my not-painted-within-the-last-five-years wall. Don't get me wrong, the view is awe inspiring. Well, it will be if the sun ever shines again. I woke up this morning and peeked out the blinds to realize that I literally could not tell where the lake ended and the sky began. It was as though some fledgling artist had painted my entire window GRAY. Lovely. I'm solar powered and I'm living in a gray world.

After work today I came home and sacked out for a few minutes. OK, maybe a couple of hours. It occurs to me now that perhaps my life has been measured by what program is on television. No, I don't watch it much but if I'm home ... wherever that it ... it's usually on as background noise. And so now I have no way of regimenting my time. This is a pathetic confession. I should be able to do better. Perhaps tomorrow.

After I rose from my slumber I felt a rumble in my tummy, grabbed a jacket and headed out the door to forage for food. I turned left out of the parking lot onto Lake Road and instantly felt compelled to turn around and go to church. Why? Dunno. It was just this clear desire. So I turned around and drove the (exactly) one mile to FBCSL. Lights were on. Uh oh. I'm the pastor. Am I supposed to be somewhere? Am I missing ....A MEETING? I parked and went inside to find thirteen teenagers and one adult in the auditorium practicing a drama. They smiled and waved. I smiled and waved. They don't know me. I don't know them. They asked if they could do a drama for me. So I took a seat and waited. Music began to play through the sound system. Seven kids on the stage began doing motions to a song by "Casting Crowns" called "I'll Praise You In This Storm."


That song has probably had more air time on my ipod in the last year than any other song. And there are a LOT of songs on that little bugger. And then I realized ... one year ago tonight ... no ... one year ago at that very moment ... I was reading my resignation to another youth group. The youth group at FBCB. And now I was the pastor of these kids. These wonderful kids who had no way of knowing what my last year had been like. No way of knowing that they were the hands, feet, and voice of God to me on this evening. What is it with me and youth groups. I made a lousy teenager when I was one. Now that I am an adult (so they tell me) I just can't get them out of my system. I think God programmed me backward.

So you have to admit that is a bit amazing. But then this God that I serve is a bit amazing. This has been a hard week. I am coming to love the people in this new church but I don't really know them. They have washed me in blessings and grace. Still, I must admit an intense feeling of emptiness as I deeply miss my family. I don't doubt that God has called me here. I simply am going through the process of separation. (You have no idea what I would pay right now for a Hit 'N Run "Hum Dinger" with just the right amount of vanilla.) I am away from my family and all of the familiar items that have represented "home" for twenty-four years. And it all has caused me to give some funny looks God's way. There are hundreds of churches within easy reach of my family and He calls me to one 556 miles away. Why? Why would He do that? Because He chooses to. That's good enough for me. But it doesn't take the sting away. By the way, He can handle my funny looks. They probably crack him up.

I spent an hour today back at the hotel where I had been staying before moving into the apartment. They had called my church to tell me I had left a suit in a closet. They had been wearing the coat and pretending to perform exorcisms. No joke. At least that's what they told me. Sounds legit to me. So anyway I stopped in to get it and got into a conversation with the hotel manager, Kitty. (Actually, it's Kathryn but somehow she thinks "Kitty" is a better name. Must be a Cleveland thing.) Kitty grew up in the church, became a nun as a young woman, and then twenty years ago got burned by someone in leadership. And so now she's not in a church at all. She has dabbled in "the mystical" side of life. She has learned the danger of believing in God but not having a "community" of Christ followers to help keep you on the sane side of the line. Religion will make you weird or mean if you don't have checks and balances. I told Kitty that I would define her as "a seeker." She said, "Yes, that is exactly what I am. I am a seeker." The desk began getting busy and I excused myself with a promise to return and continue our discussion.

It's people like Kitty that make me certain that this call is from God. It's moments like tonight with the youth group that bring me encouragement and confidence that God does indeed know what He is doing.

So as an extra added bonus tonight here's a picture of my office as it looked when I left this evening. Lot of things to be moved, hung, shelved and thrown out. The chair is cushy and the desk is big. And the walls? The walls are very, very blue. There is a story there but we'll save it for another day...


Anonymous said...

Ain't God cool?!!!

Anonymous said...

Love you Man! Your sky blue office looks very calming. Hope to see you around Turkey Day.