Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Fine Print in Marriage

"In sickness and in health..." Those are the words tucked away neatly somewhere in the middle of familiar wedding vows. They are what we might call the "fine print"; the part that does not draw much attention; the part few people notice until some time later in life.
Just such a time recently came to pass under our roof and the roof of another preacher's family for whom we've been praying. In our case, my wife underwent surgery and I've had any resemblance to a normal life put on hold while I nurse her back to health. As those of you who've been through such a time as this can attest, I've done things for my wife that defy description - at least nothing I care to describe in this blog. It is, after all, a family-friendly blog. After the upteenth episode of emptying (I shall delicately call) "the bucket," my wife declared I had gone "beyond the call of duty."
Wrong. It was exactly the call of duty. It's in the fine print. I've done much more than empty "the bucket," but I'm not going there, and no, you don't want to know. It's the fine print.
The other preacher and his wife read the fine print too. In her case, it meant watching the life slowly ebb from her husband until he went into the presence of the Lord. No one ever marries for the fine print. But it's the fine print that gets to you.
In many respects, those vows in the middle - the fine print - may be the most important of all. Those who have lived through their vows with a loved one to the end know more than anyone else that love is spelled out in the fine print. It's the point where true love shines forth; where love is not displayed in the finery of the ceremony, but shines forth in its deepest beauty.
After all, the fine print is where we live.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Life Is Just Too Busy

Some readers have probably noticed that posts to this blog have slowed noticeably in the last month. This has been the case for two reasons. First, our modem decided to expire. We went without internet for several days except for those few occasions when I could sneak off to a Tim Horton's restaurant to use their free "wi-fi." Second, life has been flat too busy.
For a preacher with a small congregation, I am on on the go an awfully lot of the time. Like many preachers in small churches, I too am bi-vocational. That's a fancy way of saying I work two full-time jobs with part-time pay and none of the benefits. I work seven days a week. Yes, I know I'm overdoing it, but what other option is there? It's not like I could hand off some work to the associate pastor. There ain't none. I work Monday through Sunday at the church except for those days -or evenings - when I am called to work at my second job. Since I could be called on to work on almost any day of the week, I begin my church work on Mondays so as to work ahead. That way, if I am called in to work later in the week, I'm not caught short for Sunday.
Of course, working all seven days leaves me little time for reading, writing or family. I could take time off, but in most cases that means taking time away from a small church that very much needs to grow. And if I take time from the other job, our family is short of the income we need just to make ends meet. So here I sit, typing away during "a brief lull in the action," as the saying goes.
My lot as a bi-vocational pastor is terrifically common. If you happen to have a bi-vocational pastor, or know one, thank him for his double life. He will probably laugh and tell you he has everything he needs except sleep. Or he may say he will rest when he goes home to be with the Lord. Tell him you understand, but he doesn't have to be in such a hurry to go. He may still laugh, but he will appreciate your thoughtfulness.