"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Don't hit me with your rosary, please!

    Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only one who has these frustrating "out of sync with God" times which turn into glorious times which then go to the average times which go back to a really good time and then back to frustrating. And the cycle starts again.  Or, I'm I just the only one stupid enough to admit when I get out of sync with God occasionally?

  For example, and I really hate to tell this because I am liable to get whacked on the head by some little Catholic lady and her rosary.....but, I have had a very lousy Lent. For those who know me personally, you know that I would have probably said crappy instead of lousy, but using that 'c' word in the same sentence as Lent is a bit more that even I can do. Anyway, it's been a bad season.

  I have always observed Lent in some form or fashion. Rarely has it been by giving up my beloved food and beverages, but by giving of more time to church endeavors, to personal growth, to volunteer efforts in my community and in recent years to write daily thoughts of my own personal journey. This year, I had no inclination or desire to do anything. So, I didn't. I did tell some folks that I was giving up lemmings and Finlandian wines, but that was a struggle to even say without a giggle.

  During this season, I had two job opportunities. And I suffered with decisions. One I turned down; the other turned me down. But, for the weeks of talking and waiting, my levels of stress and anxiety flew (literally) out of control. I tried to turn the decisions over to God, but I kept picking them up. Every 'ding' alert for new email, everytime time the phone rang, sent me into a whirlwind of the jeebies. And then, decisions were made, and I crashed. I withdrew. I caved. As the true Southerner would do...I took to my bed for a season.

  Why did I care? My college life at Georgia Southern and my great friends at the Baptist Student Union (many who are still part of my life) was fantastic. I had a great career at Georgia State University and retired from there on top of the world. I guess the face that I triple-rolled my Explorer on the way home that final day should have given me a clue.

  I then took a job which beat me down, destroyed my self-image and wore my relationship with God to the bare minimum of acceptance. I was lied to, manipulated, censored on my writing and it finally threw me into therapy where I still have to go on occasion. Funny how  the church can and will eat it's own. Never again will I be a Professional Christian (thanks for the term, Micheal Elliott).

  So, I eventually ended up with my part-time Library job. That one, plus my retirement pension, plus my church music job (not as a Professional Christian....but, as a Gifted Christian), have given me a good life. Not the best financially, but I do have all I need, and then some more. I have peace. I am able to interact with people I like and who make me a better person. And that, my friends, is what it is all about. The one place to which I had always felt a calling...church ministry....was the one place who did not give comfort and acceptance. This is why I feel so fulfilled at the Tybee Bar Church. They are the true church, accepting of the misfits and the quirkys. Flip-flops welcome and expected. And they love me to come do my thing. Speak, music, laugh, worship.

  So, now the last week of Lent is here. I have thrown my focus back on the events of Holy Week and am re-reading and posting my thoughts of this special time and place. And I'm good. My faith is sound, my love for God is pure and true, my friends support and encourage me daily.....I only hope to do the same for them. "God loved us and sent His Son." "Love God, love others." You know the words, so, let's live them.

  And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.


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