Friday, January 23, 2009

thoughts while waiting for an oil change.

[random, free expression, written wednesday, jan. 21, 2009 while waiting for the oil to be changed in our van. i can't say what was written is coherent or worth reading or complete for that matter... but they are thoughts... my thoughts. read if you like... but i've come to know that blogging is often done even though many might not even ever read it. so maybe this random post was for me. maybe it was therapeutic. maybe it was just talking things out, without using my voice. alas...]

Sitting here waiting for the oil to get changed in my car and I’m thinking a lot about change. Yesterday we witnessed the beginning of the appearance and/or the hope of change to come in our country. Barack Obama was sworn into office as the 44th President of the United States. He represents so much to so many, but never has there been or will there be more pressure put upon one man to lead our nation. We are not in the best of times. Frankly, being President might not be the dream job when you look at the task at hand.

Regardless, this whole change thing that has filled my mind has more to do with the other things of life. As a matter of fact, change has been on my mind for a while now. It’s been on the forefront for at least the past 21 days. With the dawning of a new year just 3 weeks ago we’ve all been thinking about change and about resolutions and about dreams and goals and things we’d like to do differently.

And yet here we are… here we stand… here I stand, 3 weeks in, already thinking about how I’ve yet to do anything. My mind has been full but my action has been empty.

Everyone seems to embraces the idea of change, but not the actual activity itself. Well, there are obviously some who reject it whole heartily… sometimes it appears that those who have been around longer are least likely to embrace change. That attitude easily seeps into the young, apparently through the water they drink? Who knows why, but I’ve met my fill of young folk who openly resist anything different, too.

We are a people made up of mostly talkers with little walkers.

And where am I in the mix? Not where I want to be. I’m on the cusp of my 35th birthday and I can’t help but wonder when the mid-life crisis will come. When I say ‘crisis’ I am meaning that place where I begin to wonder and question and figure out what it is I was placed on this earth to do.

Heck, I’ve been having those thoughts for years.

I don’t view this coming period as a crisis per-sey, but more of a reality that is or will be upon me or any man who gets this far in life and can’t help but wonder ‘ how the heck did my parents do this?’ how did they do the whole ‘raising a family, holding down a job and being the productive people that they were?’

The scary thing is the realization that things are different and really cant be compared. Young people (or might I clarify, people my age) don’t seem to join the Rotary or civic clubs. We don’t really interact in community or neighborhoods like our parents did. We don’t do things the same way – but yet we aren’t much different. We are still filled with the same hopes and fears of our fathers and mothers and those who paved the way before them.

I can’t help but wonder how God will take care of me and my family when the future arrives. I can’t lie… that is a point of worry at times… but not that I spend too much time worrying about that. Who has time to worry about the future, anyway?
But that fact is I’ve chosen a profession that doesn’t pay, I’d say,. I’m not in it for the money. I’d be a fool if I were. But youth ministry isn’t the kind of career that has the benefits of others. No union. No real pension. No long term plan. Heck, most youth workers are long removed from that form of ministry by the time they hit mid-life.

I won’t really have much when that time comes to ‘hang it up’. I got a statement from my pension plan the other day. Right now, I’ve got enough to survive for roughly 1 month after I would retire. So yeah, youth ministry doesn’t hold long term stability, in the financial sense.

But that is not why I chose this profession. Money isn’t everything. Not that I fully believe that all of the time. But I know in my heart of hearts that there is more to life than cash money.

So I guess as I write this and think about change, I guess I am forcing myself to think about when certain changes do come in my life and in the life o my family, it will truly place us in the hands of God… in the midst of his loving care. I can only hope that he will, over time, reveal more and more his grace and love to me so that I may be comforted about future endeavors. Maybe I am being shown what it will look like to truly be a child of God – even as my years go by.

Got to maintain that hope though. You take away a man’s hope and you take away his life. I learned that lesson from the movie The Shawshank Redemption.

But alas, this post was and is about change. I could talk for hours. Change in the church. Change in the way we do youth ministry. Change in the way we attempt to reach the non-churched, young and old. Those questions are heavy on my heart. But at the heart of any ‘real’ question is a quest.

My quest is appearing to be long and hard and full of more questions.

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