Back when our oldest son, Chuck (now 16 ½) was in the first grade, Kim and I volunteered to be part of the group of parents who went on a fieldtrip to the kiddie park in Lincoln, Nebraska. Of course, Matt went along with us.
You know the type of park I am talking about – oversized slides and jungle gyms. It had plastic bridges and reduced sized climbing walls. It just wasn’t just Chuck’s class but the whole first grade. There were at least 60 six-year olds running amok.
Three-year old Matt was trying his very best to keep up with all 60 of the first graders. He was having the time of his young life. After quite a little while, Matt when down the big pink slide one more time. At the bottom, he laid back and rested his head on the side rail. He was exhausted, and he had the biggest, hugest, most content smile on his face. Ole Matt couldn’t move because he was so tired, and he was so happy.
We actually caught that beautiful moment on film, and the picture hangs in our home.
Today, as I sit in our study at church, I feel exactly like Matt did that day. I am exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. Since mid-April my life has been as out of control as 60 romping six-year olds at a park.
Cluster meetings, Towaoc Board meetings, Committee on Ministry meetings (always in Montrose), Presbytery Women’s retreat, three day trip to Arlington Texas for two conferences (Board of Pensions Annual Consultation and Office of Vocations Training Event), Great Plains Wee Kirk where I led two seminars, a couple of funerals, hosting the Committee on Preparation (and being a part of their annual consultations), hosting the Presbytery of Western Colorado (and making a huge presentation for it), Mountain States Wee Kirk Conference (led two seminars, ended up elected to moderate the team again), the family getting home turning my house upside down, company, company and more company, hosting a neutral pulpit which led to another meeting in Montrose, birthdays, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day and the hours of preparation for and then attending the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (eight days of at least 14 hour days), and the wedding in Dunton the Sunday after we got back to Cortez. Not to mention a little thing like during all that time doing my job as co-pastor of this congregation.
I feel so much like little Matt that day at the play park. It sounds clichéd, but I really am both exhausted and exhilarated. I mostly feel both in my Sunday leadership. I almost feel like I am pinging around the sanctuary, and my preaching has been inspired/excited. Then suddenly I feel like an old Ford station wagon that is puttering to a stop out of gas. It usually takes a couple of days to reenergize, but who has time for that and who would want to slow down? This has been a great season of my life!
I am pooped, and fired-up raring to go at the same time. Yet, over these months the question keeps coming up, raring to go where?
In the Letter to the Ephesians chapter 4, verse 1, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.”
I keep asking the question to what am I called for my next season of life? Maybe this is the mid-life crises that I keep waiting to have.
I think it ALL comes down to the same calling every person has in Jesus Christ. We are to love and follow God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength. And then love and serve God’s people to our very utmost. It comes down to proclaiming the Kingdom of God is at hand, and living like it. It comes down to keeping our focus on Jesus and leading others to focus on Him.
Ultimately, my last few months may not be so unusual. Yes, they have been unusually packed with activities, but living out the call to which we have been called is universal for all of us Christians.
The call to which we have been called was proclaimed by Paul in Ephesians 4: 1-6 – “I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.”
Co-Pastor, Montezuma Valley PC in Cortez