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Being There

October 20, 2009

Just a quick update on what has been going on, and the last of my conference quotes that really stuck with me.

Saturday – had Luke’s 18 month pictures taken, and we rediscovered the fact that sitting still or facing the camera is no longer an option when in the photography studio. But, we did get some good shots, and he got to ride the carousel at the mall. That night, we went to Lance and Heather’s wedding. It was a really meaningful service, and we got to see Lawton and Carolina walk down the aisle as part of the wedding party. Luke got a hold of a balloon at the reception and thought it was the best thing in the world.

Sunday – We had our annual singing at Crittenden Drive, and we had a packed house! It was so neat to see Christians from all over the area make the drive to Russellville and sing from 2:30 – 5:00 in a sustained time of praise. We got a high-quality digital recording, and I am hoping we can put that on the website soon. That way, you can open it up, click play, and listen to it while you do other stuff on the internet.

Monday – This is now my day off (you’ll see why when I mention the quote below). So, I went to a meeting with alot of area ministers, ate lunch with them, and then I came home and Kathryn, Luke and I went to Jackson’s Orchard in Bowling Green to pick out a pumpkin. They had slides, animals to look at, and even fried apple pies, which was great. And we had Sonic for dinner. Great day!

Ok, now for the quote that helped me reorganize my schedule. Rob Bell was speaking about the importance of having family priorities in line (stating that if it was going well at church but not at home it was not going well), and he talked about a conversation with a minister who was burnt out because he wasn’t taking any time off. Even on Saturday, he was still thinking about Sunday. That hit pretty close to home. Lately, my Saturday afternoons/evenings have been focused on Sunday, leaving me with little weekend time focused on the family. Rob Bell asked the question to his friend, “So, when you are there on Saturdays, you aren’t really there, because you are thinking about Sunday?” 

Since we have moved to Kentucky, my days off have not been consistant. I have an incredibly supportive wife who does not complain about the time I spend with ministry stuff (she has always been actively involved in church ministries herself), and an eldership that has encouraged me to choose a day during the week to take off, but I knew I needed to do better. I have a natural hesitation to even take days off, because I feel guilty when I do. I guess I’ve heard one too many “Ministers only work one day a week” jokes that I feel compelled to work so hard that I prove the stereotype wrong. I still feel that way, but the reality of what my family needs hit me hard during that talk. When Kathryn was teaching full-time, it wasn’t much of an issue, since there wasn’t anything for me to do on my day off other than work in the yard or around the house (and who wants to do that?). But now that she is home with Luke, I have an opportunity to spend one day a week especially dedicated to hanging out with them. I talked with Dad about that recently, and he told me about some of the things he and I had done on his days off when I was little. I didn’t remember those times since I was so young, but it made me feel good that they happened. And I also realized how blessed I was to have so many memories of times spent with my parents and sister. So I was already thinking about it when I heard that story.

So…Mondays are my new days off. We all went to the orchard and did fun fall stuff, and picked out a HUGE pumpkin (it didn’t look that big until we got it home). Luke is 19 months old, so he probably won’t remember today, but I will. And I want to remember alot of other times I chose to invest in hanging out with family. It won’t always be pumpkin patch trips – there will undoubtedly be alot of hanging around the house reading books and playing with blocks days – but I want to do a better job of being there for them. I know that I will still probably think about Sunday on Saturday (I read on Daniel Hope’s blog that he just makes sure he doesn’t start thinking about Sunday before 8:00 p.m. on Saturday – sounds like a good rule), but I want to be “there” when I am “there” with my family as much as possible. Those of you who have more experience in this area than I do – any thoughts?

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