Friday, July 31, 2009

Looking Through Some Old Papers Today

It's about 4 p.m., and I'm tired of looking at legal cases and tired of preparing for next week's cases, and for some reason I start looking through one of the drawers of my desk. And, this is a drawer that contains lots of old "church stuff," like handwritten sermon notes from the past 10 years or so (earlier notes have gotten lost in the moves). And, I come across this sermon that has somehow survived from the early days. In fact, I remember that I preached this before I was even ordained as a minister. My passage is Romans 6:1-11.

I remember that my great aunt Thelma was there, my parents were there. I can't even remember whether I preached it before or after Jimmy and Lisa were born, but I am fairly sure it was after they were born.

And, then I come across the bulletin from the Sunday in 1989 when I was ordained as a minister. August 6, 1989. And, the insert in the bulletin is scribbled on, and I'm pretty sure I recognize this scribbling as that of little Lisa who was a little over one at the time. My Mom remembers Jimmy reciting the Lord's Prayer word for word at the service, and remembers that he pronounced temp-ta-tion as "temp-a-ta-tion." I remember that my father-in-law was there even though he had been going through a hellacious round of chemotherapy, and I remember how happy he was to be there. I remember my seminary professor and advisor, Charlie Cousar, preaching a wonderful sermon about glorifying God as being the first thing in life.

Well, this afternoon took me back a few years. On next Thursday, I will have been an ordained minister for 20 years.

I also found this really funny set of drawings entitled "The Many Faces of Dad" which was done by my daughter, Lisa. There is a drawing of: "Dad confused," "Dad grumpy," and a couple of more. These drawings were made when I was in the middle of law school and also pastoring a church - the combo of which was fairly unpleasant. It made me think two things: I was worried a lot over finding a way to make a living when my kids were young, and my daughter was pretty perceptive when she was young.

You never know what you are going to find when you open up a drawer!

Some Thoughts on Middle Age

Middle age is when you realize that many of your dreams are not going to be realized and when you begin to understand that most of your dreams were really expressions of self-rejection. But, there are always one or two dreams that are just the essence of life, that affirm your life and the life of others. If you come out of the process of mid-life reflection with one or two of these dreams intact and say good-bye to those dreams that were nothing more than wanting to be someone you are not, well - then, life is good. You should be able to live out whatever years you have left with peace and with your concerns focused off of yourself and onto others.