I had a couple of conversations recently that have me back to being more focused about where and how I should spend my remaining decade (I'm optimistic) of working life. I'm still not sure. (Not that I ever intend to just sit in a rocker.)
"What are you doing these days?" Many people still ask me that question. Some still are surprised to hear that I am no longer the pastor at the church where I spent ten years, and it has been nearly two years since I left. I had an idea or two about what might happen to me next. I did not share it on the blog--too personal--but I did share it with a few people. So far, it has not. Could it still? Yes, but it seems less and less likely. I did feel strongly about writing, and so I started doing that in earnest.
Meanwhile, Ken and I returned to the church we formerly attended. We know people there. It has been our "home church" so to speak, for many years. It is a good place, and we love Pastor Rich and Pastor Sharon. I was surprised to find that it was difficult.
Oh, I knew there would be some adjustments to make, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I just had no idea just how profound those would be. A few months ago I turned a corner. How did I know? I didn't cry in church. Oh, I don't mean I was ever boo hooing. And I'm a Pentecostal, so tears in church are acceptable. :-) It was just silent tears, or a lump in my throat and watery eyes. That sort of thing. This went on for a long time--then suddenly it didn't happen, and since then any teary-eyed occurrences have been entirely because of good things. However, I continue to feel that I am not "settled."
A while back I started teaching Sunday School. I love to teach, and teaching the Bible is just extra good, so that was fine. I enjoy our class interactions. But something is not quite right, and I can't say why. I had an idea recently, and wondering if perhaps I should share it with Pastor Rich. Not sure, and I'm surprised at what it is...but God's ways always have been strange, at least in MY life!
Meanwhile, something else has been happening. I preached a sermon a few months back (about Peter). If you know me on Facebook you might have seen my status update about that. It was not a profound sermon, or one I would say was one of my "best" ones, but once again God's ideas are probably a great deal different than mine, because today someone mentioned again how much that sermon blessed them. As a preacher, I am thrilled if someone remembers what I preached about a day or two later--a few months? Wow! About 10 or 12 people have talked to me about that sermon. And the other thing was, it felt good to be up front and leading the service. It felt right.
When I first left my church, it was difficult financially as well. It looked, at one point, like we might lose our home. We prayed a lot. Anonymous people blessed us with money here and there. Life went on and provision came. I started working at a financial firm. It is a good place with good people doing good work. (There is a link in my blog sidebar.) I have a nice office. I have learned a great deal that has been good to learn. I still have ideas of things I'd like to accomplish there.
Perhaps I will just keep on as I am now. Perhaps I will keep working at Veritas, teaching at Christian Life AG, writing, and so on. Perhaps that is as it should be. Or perhaps change is coming. Or perhaps it is just the weather and I'll feel differently next week! Or perhaps I am getting ready for something. We shall see.