Reality struck a short time later and I realized it in a big way that we were coming back into the routine. We stopped for a sandwich on the way home and Larry’s cell phone rang at least six or seven times just during lunch, dealing with work related stuff. I got sick of it and didn't even bother to try and hold a conversation anymore since every time I started to talk the phone rang. I stayed quiet most of the way home as the phone rang again...
Then as soon as we got home, the phones were ringing here and Larry had to leave and take care of something. I felt like afternoon came today and everyone was just sitting by their phones doing a countdown saying, "this is it...five, four, three, two...one, it's bombardment time, guys!" Welcome home!!!
Pastoring can be the most exhiliarating thing at times. What could be better than helping people cross the line of faith, and grow? But one of the downsides is lack of privacy and needs and crisis' constantly chipping away at you. I realize the facts - ministry is a tough road. It's a given, just the way it is. But sometimes I just need to let off steam, or get away. We needed the last three days in the worst way and I'm so glad we had from noon on Wednesday to noon today. To say it means the world? Understatement.
I used to go ballistic on Larry for answering the phone every single time and ask him to cut himself a break now and again. (I do screen my calls – if I didn’t I don’t know how I’d cope. If I need a little time to breathe, I answer emergencies only for a few hours.) At this point I don’t get upset anymore that he takes every call, emergency or not (that’s just him and how he’s wired so I give him freedom to handle it like he wants) but I let him know that because he answers it doesn’t mean I’ll do anything about it. (Meaning – he answers it, he handles it.) I think we’ve come to a meeting of the minds on that.
Larry chose to answer phones all day so he had to take care of things and go out. As for me, I had a lot to catch up on at home to be ready for tomorrow. I walked into a messy kitchen (boys will be dealt with that later on that), clothes to iron for tomorrow, a load of laundry to do, lunch to make for tomorrow, table to set, special music to go over, unpacking bags, etc. Brit is spending the night tonight with Savanna and it's really helped to have a friend here to have some fun with her. I missed her sorely and it was so nice to give her hugs and talk to her and have supper together. But I came home having to finish all this and couldn't spend every moment with her. I'm looking forward to spending some time together this coming week. I have something special planned - am hoping it works out.
Larry has always told me he wants to retire from pastoring some day but not leave ministry, just change our role in ministry. (We plan to work the rest of our lives and never retire.) I was always against leaving pastoring. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else for the rest of my life. But the more that time goes on, I really can’t see myself doing this longer than another 20 or at max 25 years, at least not without mentally cracking up and being of no use to anyone in the world. At this point my prayer is that we live that long, and beyond – able to spend the years after that in a less stressful role and able to cherish our final years together without all our phones ringing or a crisis around every corner all the time. It truly is a serious prayer of mine to have those years to enjoy together because so many pastors don't get to do that because they develop stress related life threatening illnesses. One of my biggest priorities at this time in my life is trying to take care of myself well to make it to that point. I’m starting to think of that phase now and sort of dream about what I want to do. I know it’s a long ways off, but you gotta have goals, you know. If I could do anything it would be to write full time and live part of the year in FL and part of the year in Boone, NC. And I want to savor my time with this person I love so much and not see him so laden down with things to solve all the time. That's just my dream for 20-25 years from now, but we’ll see. I realize it has to be God’s dream, not just mine.
And who knows, something might happen in the next two decades to completely change the life of the pastorate… God CAN do miracles, right?