I've been struggling all morning about whether or not to post this. But, I really need to just go ahead and say what I need to say and stop typing things then deleting them.
I was sitting on the couch last night, trying to relax when Rachel asked me if I wanted to hold Noah. I cringed at the thought. In fact, the thought of holding him made me almost angry. Why couldn't I just be left alone? I felt tired and irritable. I know part of it is the chronic sleep deprivation, but I also know that something's wrong with me.
I have awful thoughts about him sometimes. I don't know why, but I didn't have those kinds of thoughts about Luke. It was probably because I worked nights and I was sleeping during the day. I don't know what changed, but I can't seem to get close to Noah.
It's not like this constantly, just sometimes. But, I find myself not wanting to touch him or hold him or play with him. Rachel and I talked about this for a while last night. She's helping me a lot. She has had no PPD whatsoever with Luke or Noah, so she's a good example and a pillar of strength for me.
I just need prayers, please. I know it's a problems and I'm working through it. Fortunately, it seems to be pretty mild depression, so hopefully it won't last long. Y'all just pray for me and talk to me about it. I already feel so much better just telling Rachel and then telling my friends.
This past Sunday, part of the sermon was about our relationships with false teachers. We discussed both those who were once a part of the church but have now been swayed into believing that which is false, and against God’s Word, and those who proclaim false doctrines but have never truly understood the Truth.
If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. - II John 2:10-11
Much of the lesson dealt with those who have never known the truth, but teach a falsehood. Like shady televangelists, snake charmers, denominations and even “good” organizations that operate under a religious umbrella.
The idea being that we shouldn’t give to places like the Salvation Army because they have churches and minister a false religion. Even though they have a branch of their operation that gives to the poor, the giving comes with false teaching.
Helpful organizations like the United Way also support pro-choice legislation and homosexuality.
All of this makes some level of sense, to me. However when I think about it further it brings up some questions that, honestly, I don’t know the answer to.
Recently, I helped organize a blood drive through the Red Cross. But look at that name, red CROSS, it doesn’t take much to realize there is, or was a religious connection to that organization. I don’t believe they have churches, or do a lot evangelizing. However, if there is any type of connection to falsehood does it mean that I must not be a part of them, must not give blood? Giving blood, quite literally saves lives, and I don’t know of any other means to donate. If it is the only means of which to give this live-saving liquid, is it still immoral of me to give?
If I have furniture that I no longer need and want to give it to the poor, where do I give? If the Salvation Army is out, is a secular organization like Goodwill ok? If, by giving to a false religious organization I am aligning myself with their beliefs, does that mean I am aligning myself with secularism if I give to Goodwill?
Taking this a step further, if I buy my groceries at Wal-Mart am I then aligning myself with their evil corporate policies? If K-Mart supports pornography, and Disney supports the homosexual agenda and abortion, am I then supporting these things by buying their products?
Surely, at some point, we have to “support” evil things in some way, so that we may live. Early Christians must have gone to the market and purchased things from heathens. Jesus said that we should render unto Caesar what is his. But where do we draw that line.
Let me start by apologizing for not being as active in this blog. It may sound funny, being unemployed and all, but I’ve actually been stretching myself a little thin of late.
For starters I’ve been writing a lot of celebrity related news items. You see, being unemployed, I have a little time on my hands, and I asked the executive producer of Blogcritics what I could do to help the site. While I was thinking more along the lines of editing, or perhaps doing PR, the response I got was that they needed more news stories.
Of course, I , and most bloggers, can’t really get the “hard” news first. I don’t have sources, and I wouldn’t know the first thing about investigative reporting, but I am able to take fresh news stories, analyze them and try to write about them from a fresh angle.
Truth be known, you couldn’t pay me to write about religion or politics, and I really don’t follow national or world news enough to write intelligently about it. However, I am a pop culture junkie and so I’ve claimed that as my racket.
It’s pretty cheesy to be writing fluff pieces about Screech getting mugged or Jessica Simpson getting dissed by Britney Spear’s belly, but it brings tons of traffic to Blogcritics and, honestly, they are kind of fun to write. I try not to be snarky or hateful, but write these things with tongue-in-cheek and make people laugh.
Beyond that silliness I have also started a new web site with a bunch of writing buddies. We call it The Mondo Project and it is kind of similar to Midnight Café Discussions, in that it features longer, well thought out essays mixed with a bit of off-the-cuff banter. Although we focus mainly on music and movies.
I have also started a new blog, Bootleg Nation, which I hope to cover my obsession with live concert recordings.
The point here being that I have been doing an awful lot of writing lately, and trying to piece together a few site designs as well. All of which has kept me from being as active here. And maybe to introduce my new sites and give a heads up as to what I’ve been doing with myself.
This is the question Mullins and I came up with last night on the phone after I had to call him and rant about an event that happened to me last night.
I had taken one of my rectangular ACPO (American Coalition for Peeing Outside) bumper stickers (That I had custom made and paid about $5.00 each for mind you) and adhered it to magnetic material and cut it out. I then had a magnet that would not ruin my truck's paint.
For the past few days I would put it on my truck, observe some reactions, then take it off when I got to work or where ever, perhaps out of shame. However, Friday had decided to put it on and keep it on; Pee Pride I suppose.
I kept it on my truck all day Friday at work and all day Saturday (though at home) and drove the truck to church Sunday night because I had some stuff in the back to take to Sipper's. Since rain was coming, we parked the truck under an overhang in the back of the church which is a common parking and entering spot for old folks... but please be aware that were were not blocking any walkways or parking spots.
I mentally noted the bumper-magnet as I got out of the truck and went into the church, smiling, wondering how people would react...
Church was over and we hopped in the truck to head to Sipper's home. We got there, unloaded all the junk, and as I walked back to my truck, something was missing... my ACPO bumper sticker/magnet!
Sip and I looked everywhere for it in case it got knocked off as we were moving stuff. No where. I thought my wife took it in to show Sip's wife... nope.
It started to settle in... I was robbed. Robbed of an American Coalition for Peeing Outside bumper sticker. Let me tell you, I have had alot of things happen to me in my life but honestly, this made me angry. Why? Not because some college kid took it. If that were the case (I pray that it was) I would be HAPPY! because he/she probably loved it so much that they put it on their car! Yes! I love it!
But what mad eme angry is that it was LIKELY some old fart who was "offended" by it. So to be like-Jesus they hatefully took it off and trashed it, feeling good about their salvation afterwards. Like they have never used the word "pee" before... Or it was some Vet who didn't like the word "American" with the word "Peeing". May be the same old lady who used to write annonymous letters to Kim H. when her child would cry too loud in church... ah, Won't Jesus be so proud? Or the annonymous old fart who writes letters to the preacher when the sermons are hateful, or the old fart who ran into Dean S.'s van and didn't leave a note and to this day Dean still has no idea who did it... WHY IS MY CHURCH FULL OF A-HOLES???
Seriously, this burnt me up, so on the way home, my wife drove and I sat there trying to convince myself aloud that I LOVED the person who took it. I brought up some lovely old ladies in our church ; Mrs Moody, Mrs Norris, etc and said to my wife "Okay, if these ladies took it and trashed it, whom I love, then i should be sorry for offending them, lesson learned, simple as that, I still love them!" etc...
So I am okay this morning I suppose, but today (Monday) I am going to call the local radio show (The Greg Show) on AM 1170 and rant about this... the show is on from 3 to 6pm I think, I will call sometime in that area... i would record it but I am not going to...
I peed outside yesterday! I know this doesn't seem like much, but if you consider the fact that I did it at work, perhaps you might feel compelled to congratulate me on an pee well done.
All of the toilets at work were out yesterday for about 6 hours. Fortunately, I had already done #2 before that happened, but I still had plenty of #1. So, rather than drive to the nearest gas station like everyone else, I stepped outside and enjoyed some good ole ACPO action.
There is a lovely, inner-city wilderness area next to where I work and I made full use of it. I encourage you all to ACPO at work, at school, in your neighbor's yard. ACPO and be free!
Well, we're gonna do it! We're getting a mobile phone.
A very nice opportunity has presented itself through my brother and sister-in-law in the form of a special (and cheap) calling plan. For roughly $10 a month, we get a phone with somewhere around 300 minutes anytime/anywhere. And calls to people within the network (Cingular) are free.
My brother and sil started up the plan and got so many phones, two of which they use, one for my Mom and Dad and the final one will be ours.
It's an opportunity I can't let pass. Rachel has to drive around Monkeytown quite a bit sometimes and this will be a good safety net. We've agreed it'll be for emergencies and for calls of special magnificence like "Do we need milk?" We also agreed to and will stand by our "No use while driving" rule. So, there you are. I'd said before we'd probably get one in the future and the future is now!
Noah is showing me what it is to be content. I have been stressed and somewhat restless for the last several months. Most of this was due to the fact that our second and final child was on his way. Looking back, I can see this more clearly because I see him every day now and feel very peaceful having him here.
From what Rachel has told me, she feels very much the same way. We had the rare and uncanny opportunity the other night to go out to eat, just the two of us! My Mom is here this week watching Luke and helping Rachel with Noah, so she volunteered to watch them while we got away for an hour or two. We talked about what we saw for ourselves and our boys and we both agreed that once she and Noah and Luke are a little more settled into the everyday, I'll have a vasectomy. Our baby making is through.
Somehow, I feel like we've passed a milestone. Our family is complete. That's not to say that everything is perfect and that the future doesn't hold unforeseen challenges, but we both have a security and contentment now that we both seemed to be waiting for. Even Luke was waiting for it. The first time he saw Noah, he walked up to him, took his little face in his hands and tenderly kissed his little brother. We were shocked and proud. But, most of all, we felt complete.
This is still some time away but I got a tentative invitation Nigeria in March. A missionary I met in Zambia runs a school in Jos, a city outside of the capitol. At any rate he’s interested in doing a few videos for the school.
I’m writing the guy back and letting him know that I’m available (thank you JuJu). The cool thing is that he’s offering to pay for my time away from work too.
One a secondary note there is a missionary conference Sept 23rd that I’m going to try and sell the idea of doing various video awareness projects. Right now I’m trying to focus on letting God allow the pieces to fall where they might. In the meantime I'm going to be putting together some hand out material and CD's of my current projects.
On a third note the LOL family show is beginning to make its own headway. We’ve had some growing pains and we still like the idea of taking this gig to the next level. This weekend we had some professional photos taken at the show and once those are developed we’re going to be developing a Myspace page along with new posters and notices, perhaps a blog and finally we’re going to see if the show can travel.
God is blessing me with lots of opportunities to do something positive and I’m praying that I can keep everything moving. Did I also mention that one of Gods greatest blessings to me is the beautiful and supportive woman he’s placed me with and the wonderful children we’ve had together. I know it can't be easy dealing with someone with as many "ideas" as I have that I keep pushing into our world, thank you.
Two houses down from me lives a single mom of two little girls and the owner of two dogs that poop in my yard a lot... What? Let them poop in her back yard? Why? That's gross! What? Walk the dogs on a leash and pick the poop up like other sane residence of my neighborhood? Unheard of!
Anyway, her girls go to the school I work for. Being that I am working hard to be more calm, more loving, and really just trying not to get worked up about things, I really HATE it when she leaves to take her girls to school minutes after I leave. Why? Because all I can do it look in my rear-view mirror and be amazed that any woman would drive so wrecklessly.
This woman's driving habits CONSUME me. So I try to let her get ahead of me or just leave late for work.
Today, I timed how much time she looked a the road and how much time she was distracted.
This is NOT a revisit to the cell phone debate... Why? Because not once, during the 22 minute drive, did she use a cell phone.
Perhaps now you can see why I don't let her behind me; because I, too, don't watch the road... I watch and see who distracted she is...
announces checking her face in her mirror, turning around to tell her kids something, reaching over to the passenger side for God knows what, and just generally looking around in a daze this woman spent an average of (NO LIE):
17 seconds for every minute watching the road as she drove.
So I was just in a meeting and I wanted to get fired. Another friend (not Brew) of mine has just gotten laid off from his job as a manager at Starbucks and is not taking the six months of pay to try and become a stand up comic. Mind you he’s doing a horrible but recently at work my job has been a real drag, personality conflicts and crappy projects has resulted in me being a poor worker, not to mention that I had shifted my entire person into getting ready for the gig in Africa. So I had a meeting today where my supervision was asking me if I was happy doing what I was doing, so forth and so on. I conceded that I wasn’t so thrilled with where I was and that what ever course “they” say fit was fine with me. No, Jules I wasn’t so blunt and hard about the whole thing. I played the whole thing or really smooth. When I first got the email I prayed about it because it’s never a “good news, we’re all happy” sort of thing. After I prayed I realized that for me, in my current funk, getting fired could be just what I need to get the water boiling again. Perhaps God is telling me something using the contentment of not being tied to Scripps anymore. It used to be about the security of gainful employment, now it’s the appreciation of letting Gods hand move outside of your awareness and control.
I’m really pulled to building something out of my conversations in Africa and perhaps getting canned would have been that catalyst. We would have had X months to live off of the package and I could have found freelance gigs around the area, there are quite a few, completed my video work for HHI and continue to build something from the ground up, the old fashioned way.
Rather than that opportunity, we’re going to be working together to see what we can do to harmonize our chakra with the Scripps lighthouse of peace, HR is full of pussies.
Lately, I have become more meditative. Some of my best meditations are done while mowing my yard. I found in teh past that mowing my yard causes me to think abotu tons of stuff, kind of like if I were laying in bed after a busy day, thoughts race in and out and makes me less tired. But lately, when I mow, I focus on one thing and ponder it for a long while...
Yesterday I pondered thankfulness. When I mow, I thank God for the yard, for the house, and for my physical ability to be able to push this mower, to walk outside without the aid of a wheelchair or nurse. I thought about walking and stuff and thought "If I were in a wheel chair, and didn't have the use of my legs, i would give anything to be able to run one mile everyday." Yet, do I do that now? No.
I then thought "Am I really thankful for something I have always had?" If you were to Africa (Mullins) and you saw a man living in a hut, and you offered him a fresh, clean water, as much as he wants, cold OR hot, any time, accessible from almost any room in his 'house' would he be thankful... heck yeah!
Offer tap water to me, and I may say thank you, but the level of thanks isn't the same. Am I really thankful for something I have already? That I have an over abundance of?
This made me think of fasting. Perhaps to truly appreciate food we must do without food. I thought about food fasting then my mind moved to other types of fasting. Perhaps to appreciate the clothes we wear we should take $20, go to the thrift store and salvation army, but enough clothes for a month with that money (Shoes, underwear, everything!) and only wear those clothes for a month. Then, after a month, we can truly tell God thank you for our closet full of clothes.
Or perhaps to truly thank God for our cars, we should walk to work, or ride a bike to work for a month.
To thank God for our homes we should live in a hotel for a few weeks, or in a tent.
Then I thought about jobs, and about Brew. Are we thankful for our jobs? I bet Brew would give anything for a bunch of "Bad days" at a job he felt secure at, but dont we complain about work? Brew, use this opportunity you have. God is giving you the chance to truly appreciate something that he is going to give you. When you get a job, look back on the worry, the emptiness, the fear you are feeling right now. You will get a job and youll be truly thankful for it.
Likewise, I have taken Chucks advice. Or learned a lesson from him. Sure school has only been in session for one day, but I have noticed that with everyone I deal with, I talk to, not about work, but just chat with. And it is actually enjoyable. Heck, one teacher told me my new facial hair design looked "Sexy", it would have made me felt better if she, too, were sexy, but that is okay, ill take the compliment.
Im learning that the people I work with are just that; people. Not first initial/last names.
Like Chuck said, my job and his is "immediate satisfaction" but there is little or no long term satisfaction. Solve 10 problems today, there will be 10 more tomorrow... but, oh well.
I get my walking papers tomorrow. The company is treating me right with a very nice severance package, nearly four months worth of pay and back PTO. So, I will have a little time to find something that pays well and that I will like.
We are definitely willing to relocate, so if any of you guys know of good jobs, let us know. This is especially true of good teaching jobs. Amy would prefer to teach French at university, but is willing to do high school work as well. She can also teach English courses.
I’d love a gig in the writing world, but can fall back on my management skills if need be.
Keep praying. I know God will bless, but the getting there can be very stressful.
Sorry this is a poor blog, I would have done an e-mail, but I don’t have everybody’s e-mail address here.
See pics... I have had some of these bumper stickers made. Do not ask for one if you are going to use it as a bookmark or put it on the kitchen refridgerator. I want true commitment, just like the old days of ACPO. If you will put it on your car, then you may have one of these (Surprisingly, custom made bumper stickers are not cheap!) Let me know... Jamison
PS... I KNOW Kelli and Mullins will put these on their car... S ya'll, please chose one. I only have 4 of the round ones, but 8 of hte rectangle ones...
PPS.. for tee shirts, see the link on the side of the blog page... I have had a few made for folks already. The tee shirts (and mugs) feature new ACPO logos, so check them out. Particularly the one that simply says "Pee." on the front. Click it to see the back.
I’m not sure how to start talking about a trip that has adjusted my entire perspective on the world around me. Beginning by saying it was an amazing experience and an undeniable blessing is a good place to start I suppose.
On the way over spending several hours in London was great, Westminster Abby more than Buckingham Palace was stunning but both were equally impressive. Leaving the UK it was 90 degrees F when we deplaned in Johannesburg, South Africa it was about 48 F, bracingly cold. In total getting from Nashville to Livingston, Zambia took 37 hours.
Livingston is one of the larger cities in Zambia and is where we spent our first three days. The "we" I’ll be referring to is Randy the CEO of Healing Hands International, Burt & Bill: HHI board members, and David HHI Agricultural specialist. Bill had arrived in Zambia a day prior to the rest of the teams arrival.
We settled into a nice place off the main drag through town and met Klaus a 27 year resident of Zambia originally from Germany; he is also the owner of Twin Fountains Ag Institute in Kalomo, Zambia. David and Klaus headed to Kalomo to get the workshop organized leaving the rest of us to do tourist stuff before getting to work. To condense three days we canoed 20km down the Zambezi River, had two automotive and one water safari, ate wonderful food, stayed one night in luxury tents (this is the same night it dropped to 38F), met many fascinating people and saw many, many elephants, giraffe, zebra, hippo, water buffalo, impala, kodoo, water bucks, crocs, birds and scenic, unspoiled landscape than I could have imagined.
When the tourist stuff was over Burt and I took a local bus to Kalomo. It was an adventure swerving through massive potholes for almost two hours only to get to our stop and have no one to pick us up for almost 30 minutes.
Once we were at Twin Fountain we settled into the guest house which was currently inhabited by large bug eating spiders. Klaus and his wife treated us to a lovely dinner which was pulled entirely from their farm. Everything was fresh, the bread, butter, cheese, chicken, huge dishes of vegetables and everything was delicious! A nice glass of wine with the mean was more than welcome. Before Sunday service the next morning they treated us to breakfast which was equally fantastic.
Communion was two cups of wine and delicious, fresh flat bread, the singing was glorious. The village on Klaus’ farm was there, as usual, but in attendance were church leaders from 11 African countries and the HHI folks. We sung common songs like How Great Thou Are and Amazing Grace but only the tunes were recognizable. Everyone sang in their native tongue which created a tapestry of some 15 languages praising God in segregated unison.
As the workshop got underway it was my job to document the information and collect stories from the guests. The information I gathered was how these people benefited from HHI’s assistance and training, their respective church works and struggles they are facing. I was also documenting various projects going on around the region that Twin Fountain was involved with.
I heard stories about extreme poverty, life and death starvation, orphans, Islamic riots and murders against Christians and how the Gospel is being spread through the works of the church across Africa. One thing is for sure Africa is quickly becoming the front line of faith, particularly between Islam and Christianity. This part of the experience has startled, depressed and encouraged me. Spiritually, I feel connected to people who are fighting for the literal survival of souls and bodies across a continent. Mentally, I feel conflicted because I see that my work at Scripps is pretty useless to my more important spiritual need.
Connected to each of those feelings is my perspective to the world around me. America is not the place it used to be. The perspective of the rest of the world, particularly the “third world” is very different than what we think it might be. Unappreciative, egotistical, bullies (my words) encapsulates a lot of it pretty well I think. I’ve never met people with so little that were so happy and known so many people with so much who are so miserable.
The trip was a joy and something I’m going to try and move towards doing more often. My true take home is that so much of the things I worry about are useless. Christ’s love for brothers and sisters the world over is very real and very tangible in the most comfortable and desperate situation. My family is a gift and manifestation of that love and you guys are an extension of the same.
The job is off for a slow, painful death. We know equivocally that we are not renewing the building’s lease in December. That would be such bad news if the only thing really keeping us here is the switchover of accounts from our office to another. The other office will have to get staffed up and the tech guys have to create new queues for our accounts to transfer to the right place.
Worst case scenario is two weeks and we’ll close. Best case looks like the end of September. Word is still out on me, who technically reports to Indianapolis, but I see no reason that they’ll keep me around.
But as my mom says, “When it rains, it pours.” Or as my dad says, “It’s always something.”
Today, driving home for lunch, just inside my apartment complex, my gear shifter goes kaput. I drive a five gear manual shifter, and the shifter popped out and then went completely loose. I couldn’t put it back into gear as there was seemingly no gear to put it into, if that makes sense.
So, Amy drove me to work and I’ve spent this afternoon finding a mechanic who will fix me. Of course it will be expensive. Of course we’re trying to save money due to the pending loss of income.
I truly believe God will take care of us. I know things will work out. Getting there is proving to be very stressful.
Patience. Has anybody ever really had it? I am not a patient person- it's something I need to work on. Right now I am waiting for my second child to be born. Our first was induced at 38 weeks because we lived an hour away from the hospital. But now we live about 2 minutes from the hospital and we're waiting for labor to come on naturally.
About a week and a half ago, my doctor informed me that the baby could come "any time now," as I had started to dilate and the baby's head was engaged. That was at 37 weeks pregnant. So that's 3 weeks of maybe-todays. There's this weird mixture of hope and dread in waiting for labor to start. I'm basically feeling 3 things:
1) I can't wait to meet my son. 2) I want to get this over with and be myself again. 3) This is like being blindfolded and not knowing when you're inevitably going to get beat up. And don't try to tell me labor is not like getting beat up.
But is 3 weeks really that long in the scheme of things? This is the last pregnancy we plan to have. I need to enjoy these last days of having life inside me. It's amazing to feel a little foot or knee move across my belly. It's wonderful to feel when little Noah gets the hiccups and nobody knows but me.
I'm trying to keep myself busy, which is difficult because I don't get around well at this point. I've been instructed to take it easy for over a month now since I started having frequent Braxton-Hicks contractions. There's really only so much knitting and reading one can do! Also I'm constantly on the lookout for signs that labor is coming, and am frequently dissapointed to be wrong. Everyone I see wants to comment on the fact that I haven't had the baby yet. Really?! I hadn't noticed! It doesn't bother me a bit, but it does seem a little silly.
So I'm going to try to get through each day with happy anticipation instead of anxious frustration. Who knows, maybe it'll be today.
Because of my change in careers. I've really been thinking a lot lately. I've said it several times. I hope your not getting tired of hearing it. "I love my job as a Systems Administrator." But, I remember saying the same things a while back about my last job as a Graphics Designer. Was I fooling myself?
I think I might have been. I look back and I realize I enjoyed the people I worked with more than what I was actually doing. I had a knack for graphics design, sure. I didn't dread going into work in the morning; I was rarely anxious to get home. But, deep down I wasn't satisfied. There wasn't a joy about sitting there and tweaking graphics or creating a concept. But back when I was job searching I thought I really wanted a job as an Art Director. And now that I'm doing what I do now, I'd rather not do anything graphical.
I think what I like about what I do now is that I like helping people and making people happy. When I fix somebody's printer or connection, they get really happy. I love making people happy. I didn't get that at my last job. Every once in a while I would amaze someone, they'd say, "You did that? I thought it was there in the first place." It made me proud, but it didn't give me purpose.
The difference between the two jobs is a matter of self accomplishment (graphics) vs. immediate feedback (computer users). And I seem toprefer the later.
So my question is have I finally found something that fits my personality, or is it something I'll look back on in 10 years after another career change and say, "I used to think I was happy when..."? Only time will tell. It brings me to another question, is there a job for each of us that would be fulfilling if we could find it? And, do we really know ourselves well enough to find that job intentionally?
Two weeks ago my Dad resigned from the little country congregation he'd ministered to for over 24 years.
He told me this Sunday night when he and Mom came to visit.
When we first started there, I was about eight years old. It was a pretty nice-sized little congregation. There were lots of kids and attendance averaged 75 on a Sunday morning. But, over the years, the kids grew up, old folks died. Families showed less interest in church and more interest in how much money they could make if they put God on the back-burner.
The kids suffered as a result of their parents putting God last. Now, they're lucky to have 45 on a Sunday morning. None of the kids of our generation except for my brother and me and maybe one other guy attend regularly and are involved in anything spiritual.
I think that contributed to Dad's resignation, but also, the men there (no elders since none of them but Dad are qualified) had spoken about cutting Dad's salary since attendance and contribution had been down.
Now, let me be perfectly clear, it was not the money that affected him, but the fact that they had no confidence in him. With his carpentry business, he doesn't need the money they pay him and winds up giving most of it away anyway. He had already been talking to Mom about leaving way before that, too. But, that lack of confidence caused him to take action.
So, he called a meeting after church and told the men that he was resigning and he would give them any amount of time they needed to find someone else. He told them that he wanted things to change there one way or another. Then, he told them something strange: He told them they could hire him back if they wanted to, but that he would be taking the first 3 weeks of August off. The final and probably biggest reason he resigned was that he needed more time with his family. Noah would be coming then, Mom needs now more than ever to go see her Mom in South Carolina, my brother and his family live around 6 hours away.
So, the next Sunday, the men called a meeting without Dad. There were 55 people there that morning. All of the men and their wives and all the kids they could guilt into being there made it.
The song leader came out afterwards and told Dad they wanted to hire him back at his current salary and they all agreed to his terms. He said they all wanted to do better, too. They all gave him their vote of confidence.
So, maybe this odd, bold, and kamikaze move made a difference and woke some people out of their complacency. But, most of all, it made me see Dad as the fearless, confident man he is.