Saturday, September 24, 2011

As it Should Be and As it Shouldn't





I thought I'd post a little update here of what's been happening with me. I'll center it around how I've been feeling about my life's latest events: things just seem to be going exactly as they should be, with maybe only a couple exceptions :)



As it Should Be:




1. My wife, Jess, is pregnant! I've angrily demanded to know from her over and over what caused this, only to finally discover I have the ability to reproduce with my female counterpart. Who knew!? Anyways, it really is existence just how it should be: The love of my life and I now get to take part in the life of a child made from the two of us. What a blessing...doesn't it just feel so much like love as it should be? To me, it does.



2. The other day, the guitar player in our church band came to me and just broke down in tears. He said he wanted to get control of his life and didn't know how to do it. In that moment of gritty reality and desperation, to me, was ministry just as it should be. I think God can really work in someone's life when they are just utterly tired of their own way. So we talked for a while and agreed to meet the next day. When we met, the drummer also stayed and talked, sharing the struggles he had been having with his own faith. It turns out what really spoke to him in our conversation was the idea that "we don't understand in order to believe", but "we believe in order to understand." This is a loose paraphrase from a theologian named Anselm: if you wait until all of your questions are answered in order to have faith in God, you'll never believe. Instead, you must have "faith seeking understanding." By believing, with questions and all, we learn to grow in faith and in bearing with God through all of life's ups and downs. In any case, it was definitely a great "as it should be" moment. I've been praying for these great guys for a while and am so glad that they are at a point of really trying to find out who this Jesus is. It's one of those moments that reminds me why I'm in the ministry business, and it just feels good to see happening.



As it Shouldn't Be:



1. I only have one "as it shouldn't be" story. Our church bought a used 25 passenger bus for only about $4400. After getting it worked on, and getting the advice of a diesel repair shop it seemed like it was going to be a steal. We were sorely mistaken.



At-Bat#1: So on it's maiden voyage in July, the transmission quit shifting when we were on mile 30 of a 250 mile trip. Thankfully, we were so close to home, we managed to get a replacement bus and go to camp. The Bus was 0-1.



At-Bat #2: After dropping $1400 to fix the transmission, the bus comes back to the church. I try to crank it and it doesn't have enough juice...we jump it off and the headlights are way too dim. I call in the problem and the bus gets taken away to be examined again. The Bus was now 0-2.



At-Bat #3: The bus comes back fixed and ready to go. I crank it up last Wednesday and everything seems fine. I start taking kids home across the dark streets of Southwest Escambia. We run for an hour and I have six kids left. The headlights start flickering, a slight electrical/burning smell develops. I pull over in another church parking lot around 9:15pm and take a look. Sparks are dropping below the engine. I turn off the bus and order the kids off, grab the fire extinguisher and spray through the grill and up under the bus. It doesn't help. Y'all, the bus literally caught on fire. Soon, smoke and flame started coming from under the hood. Jets of flame shot out as steering fluid and diesel went up. The kids were amazed as smoke billowed high and thick into the night sky. We stood way off as the fire department arrived and doused the engine. In the end, just the engine compartment burned and not the entire thing. The bus ended its career 0-3.




As far as transport vehicles go, it was one as it shouldn't be. But as the pastor said as he picked up the remaining kids and me in his car, "It is what it is." We did everything we could to make sure it was a good investment, but it in the end it just totally failed. As I drove home that night, I couldn't help but laugh, thinking of that old, cantankerous bus burning in a parking lot. The kids said it "blew up"-- it didn't, but then I guess that's kids as they should be: hyperbolic and vocal.



So, that's my life as of late. Alot of things are good, and some things (well, the bus) have just been a total "wash". But, that's how it is: you win some and you lose some. And that's life as it is, whether you believe it is as it should be or not. I've included a pic of that bus for your enjoyment. Thanks for reading.........Patrick