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Friday, August 26, 2016

It Could Always Be Worse

I have a confession to make.  I forgot that today was the worst day of the year.  For twelve years we celebrated (or, perhaps more accurately, lamented) this day, and then something strange happened.  Last year happened.  And I have a new worst day.  I'm gearing up for it in a few weeks.

But, August 26, 2003 was quite a day...

I spent the morning at a livestock auction.  These are words I never would have imagined I would write one day... not in a million years.  I spent the morning feeding large, sweaty men who had come to bid on pigs and cows and apparently to hit on me (I was cuter then).  I did this, because the church where Phil was on staff asked me to.  Animal allergies and all, I did this, because serving people is a part of who I am.

It had already been a difficult summer, but life in ministry is like that.  Scratch that.  Life is like that.  Difficult.  It just is.  I was 23 years old.  The most pressing thing on my mind was that I had recently been told that I probably would be unable to have more children.  That's rough when you feel as if you fought for years for the first two and you're desperate for another one.  The second most pressing thing on my mind was the hostile environment of our local church.  I guess the third most pressing thing on my mind was the smell.

There was a brief moment of relief when I jumped into one of our parishioner's vehicles and buckled my seatbelt, ready to return to my family after a really weird day.  That lasted until my cell phone rang, and the voice on the other end said that a church board member had informed her, that morning, that the board had voted to fire Phil.  I thanked her for letting me know, hit the end button, and plastered the pastor's wife smile on my face for the thirty minute drive.

Upon arriving home, I greeted my two toddlers and their daddy with the news that he no longer had a job.  I'm still a little perplexed at the idea that this seemed appropriate to anyone.  I mean, the senior pastor sure told me how inappropriate it was, later that night, but I'm still pretty sure that I'm not the one who screwed this communication up.

Definitely the worst day of the year.

Interestingly, though, it was also one of the best days of my life...

I don't want to get all cliché and stuff, but there is still some truth to the fact that we don't know what might happen in the future, based on what has happened in the moment. 

The day was the worst, because people do mean things... and then other people gossip about them... and nobody should ever have to deliver horrible news to the person she loves most in the world... and I can point pretty clearly to that day when I think about cynicism washing over me...  It always makes me think of this clip from Cartoon Planet:

In hindsight, it probably made me strong.  But nobody really wants that kind of strength, so that's a wash. 

The day was the best, because we also don't know what might happen in a moment, regardless of everything else swirling around us.  Even though the vast majority of the day totally sucked, we did make Caleb that night, so there's that...


PS  This is probably the last year I'll be able to get away with sharing the story of his conception in a public forum, because by this time next year he'll be 13...  So...  Facebook...

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