Saturday, September 29, 2012

Need vs. Want: We Meet Again.

These days I live in a sea of moving boxes.  At first only a sliver of my was life stacked high in a corner, but as moving day draws near I can hardly walk in my apartment without tripping over myself.

It's funny putting my life in boxes.  It's funny how much of it I don't need.

I've been fine this week without the frames and socks, the quilts and pillows, the mysterious FRAGILE box and the summer clothes.  I live in a tiny apartment and yet I have so much stuff.  How much of it do I actually need?  Sigh...need vs. want:  Cliche (yet important) argument and Katie meet again!

Don't get me wrong; it would be impractical to get rid of everything.  I won't wear summer clothes this week but I will next June.  I don't need the frames now (or ever) but they hold photos of people I love.  Those familiar faces will be an especially welcome sight in a new place.  I'm glad for the things I have--especially cherished treasures from loved ones and friends.

It would be impractical to get rid of everything but I do wonder if I've got the right balance.  Are there more 'wants' than 'needs' in the boxes?  Yes.  I'm sure of it.  What's the balance between good stewardship of stuff vs. seemingly endless accumulation of things we think we need?

No answers.  Just questions.  Back to packing!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Staff Infection (the good kind)

Today the Memorial Baptist staff treated me to a fun day.  It was great. We piled into our beloved minivan and hit the road for Washington, D.C.  I had no idea where we were going.  I love surprises.

Because I'm a history dork the staff selected President Lincoln's cottage for a visit and tour.  They know me!  During the summers the Lincolns lived in the cottage.  The President would ride 45 minutes on horseback to reach the White House for work.  He was escorted by no one--even in the midst of the Civil War!  People feared for his life but the President treasured the time alone (so surmised our excellent tour guide.  I concur.).  I can only imagine the prayers he prayed, the things he thought, the worries he carried.

For lunch Artemia secured an excellent neighborhood eatery-The San Antonio Bar and Grill-which especially thrilled the Texans.  As everyone knows it's best to keep the Texans happy.

We finished the day with a stop at Fro Yo.  Following is an unimportant yogurt opinion:  Fro Yo and Sweet Frog are infinitely better than Pinkberry.  At Fro Yo there is a veritable plenty of flavors AND we have the freedom of lever-pulling.  Elsewhere the people behind the counter control the yogurt.  To quote Cher from Clueless "As if!"  All yogurt however is a win due to live cultures (whatever that means).  I'll move on because this is turning into a first world problem situation.

I'm grateful for this day.  I'm grateful for the history, the fajitas and the yogurt but more than anything I am grateful for these people I love.  Every one of them.  We are colaborers but we are also friends.  Here's a non-exhaustive list of why they're awesome:

  • Belinda is teeming with hospitality.  She makes every person feel special because she believes every person is special. What a gift in this day and age!  Belinda learns folks' names because she cares.  I love that.  
  • Sally and I started within weeks of each other at Memorial. Sally is one of the most humble human beings I've ever met. She truly wants to live for and like Jesus all the time.  It's beautiful really.  
  • Artemia is a gifted listener and a wondrous minister.  She can lead, preach, sing, teach, number-crunch and party-plan.  She'll bend over backwards for anyone.  She makes the world brighter for so many people.  She sacrifices for folks.
  • For me, the word Richard is synonymous with the word kind.  "How can I help you?"  Richard has asked me 3.4 million times.  What's more:  He means it.  He is loyal and gentlemanly (in that really respectful and awesome way). 
  • Drew is a wonderful pastor.  He is funny and loves to laugh.  He is a great storyteller.  He asks good questions and is a great leader.  Drew's passion for missions is infectious.  It has been a joy to get to know him.
  • Ruben loves the church so very much.  He cares for the building and the people.  He makes me laugh and he's a prankster. I will miss hearing him sing on Friday afternoons whilst he vacuums.  No one blasts Enrique Iglesias like Ruben.  
  • Ricardo carries with him a sense of joy and peace.  His smile is warm and he is unfailingly friendly.  Ricardo is kind. 
  • While we don't see Bill Johnson daily, I appreciate his pastoral care and love of improving things to make life easier for everyone.

  • Thanks Abe!  You're the best.
These are the people with whom I spend my days.  I am blessed.  Thanks for treating me to a special day.  I felt and feel loved.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Childhood Dream Come True

I can't believe it happened.


Once again:  I have a game ball.

I was elated.  Stoked.  Thrilled.  Over the top excited.  I called my dad.  I called my brother.  I still can't believe it but it's true! It really happened. I HAVE A GAME BALL.

I can remember toting my Macgregor glove (why no capitalization of the 'G' friends?) to Saint Louis Cardinals games as a girl hoping for a chance to catch a ball.  Last night the childhood dream came true!  And it was a Nationals game ball.  And I love love love the Nationals. (Please excuse my excessive use of 'love' for such a time as this.)

For non-baseball fans, to what can I compare this joy?  It's like a guitar pick from The Edge.  It's like a piece of the net from March Madness. For game show fans (too much?):  It's like a Pat Sajak AND Vanna White autographed a piece of the Wheel.  A game ball--especially a scuffed up ball--is pretty much the best thing ever.

My pal Erin surprised me with excellent tickets to the game.  We were just behind the dugout.  That in itself was enough to delight me for the next week.  I love love love (can't help myself) surprises and this was a great one!  I could see the expressions on the players' faces. When Tyler Clippard (bless him) returned to the dugout dejected and downtrodden we stood and clapped for him.  I think he made eye contact with us.    I gave him the "You'll get 'em next time" support look.  I think he felt that.  It's a stretch, but I think he felt that.

So:  The ball.  How is it mine you ask.  One of the Brewers' players foul tipped the ball.  The Nats ball boy picked it up.  As he ran back to the dugout I stood up, smiled and politely said "Hello!  May I have the ball?"  We made eye contact and for some strange reason he tossed it at me.  This is when things went into slow motion.  I see the ball hurling toward me (thank you ball boy!).  I reach for it but wait:  A man in front of me snatched it for himself.  Nooooooooooooooo!  Noooooooooooo mister!  GIVE ME BACK MY DREAMS.

Ultimate sadness...

Until the man turned around, handed me the ball and said "This ball was meant for you."  I gushed.  I thanked.  I gave a passionate explanation of the significance of this ball.  It was a bit much for him.  I think he was done about 15 seconds in but I needed him to know.  Thank you mister.  Faith in humanity restored and childhood dream come true.

Thank you mister.  Thank you ball boy.  Thank you Erin.  Thank you baseball.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Here I Am Lord

One of my favorite hymns is "Here I Am Lord." The lyrics are rich with trust in God.  Sometimes I tremble when I sing it:  "Here I am Lord...I have heard you calling in the night...I will go Lord if you lead me..."  It is quite a thing to tell God "I'll go if you lead me" and mean it.

For awhile now God has been leading me to be pastor of a church. God has whispered, sung and spoken the call--but lately God has been shouting! The gracious folks of Scottsville Baptist Church in Scottsville, Virginia have called me to be their pastor.  I am thrilled to begin the journey with them.  The entire process has been grace-filled and humbling.  I am grateful.

Anyone who listened to pop music in the 1990s remembers "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."  As I depart for Scottsville I leave Memorial Baptist Church.  Leaving a church you love is an acute kind of pain I wouldn't wish on anyone.  I trust God's leadership and am eager to serve God's church in Scottsville, but I will miss Memorial.  Never have grief and excitement captured me so fully at the same time.

More than grief or excitement however, I am grateful.  I am grateful for six wonderful years at Memorial.  I am grateful for God's call to pastor Scottsville.   I am grateful for God's people in both places.  I am grateful and blessed.

The last line of "Here I Am Lord" promises "...I will hold your people in my heart."

That I will.  That I will.