Monday, May 15, 2006

Reason #31: He Brought Me Breakfast in Bed!

Well, sort of...

This morning, I "hollered" out to DH, who was in the kitchen, "Hey, bring me one of those muffins, would you?" and he did. A few minutes later, I piped up again from my perch in bed, and said, "Um, Honey, a cold glass of milk would sure be nice." And he brought me a glass of milk. I guess that counts, doesn't it?

I didn't get breakfast in bed for Mother's Day; thus, I was pretty well convinced I wouldn't get it this morning, or any other morning, unless I took matters into my own hands. I had a rough day, yesterday, mostly due to my unrealistic expectations and unhealthy self-esteem. Today, I woke up to a new morning, a new mind-set, and new mercies. ("Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day." Lamentations 3:23 NLT)

Don't get me wrong--DH was wonderful about giving me a beautiful card for Mother's Day, and gifts from the kids, too. My emotional slump was not caused by anything DH did or did not do. Rather, it was about who I am, and who I really want to be or wish I was.

A man tends to rate all of life's experiences on a performance scale: do I measure up? do I have what it takes to perform? A woman, on the other hand, asks only one question, through a myriad of lenses: am I worthwhile? do I have any value or beauty?

A word of advice to all of you dear husbands: don't wait for your wives to ask you for breakfast in bed. And to all the ladies, don't expect your husbands to read your minds--if you want a muffin and some milk, you'd better ask for it, or you'll get old and grey, waiting for it.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Reason #30: He Did "Show & Tell" for Career Day!

Yesterday, DH was a special speaker for our son's chapel service. Ben (our son's nickname) goes to a private Christian School, and yesterday was "Career Day". A nurse, a doctor, a fireman, and an engineer were some of the invited guests, but only my husband, the minister, showed up to speak. (Halfway through his presentation a mechanic arrived, so he was able to participate also.)

DH did such a wonderful job! He made his speech into an object lesson, pulling "tools of the trade" out of his briefcase, just like a child's version of "Show and Tell!" He interacted with the children from the first "Good Morning!" telling them that they were more responsive than his own congregation when they cheerily shouted back a greeting.

The first "tool" he pulled from his briefcase was a huge red heart, cut out of construction paper. This was the most important tool of ministry, he said, because without a heart you cannot love God and love people. He recommended not going into the ministry without a real love for people.

The second tool was like the first, a construction-paper-cut-out ear. As with his first object, he asked the children for responses: "Why do you think you would need an ear in ministry?" The students answered well: "to hear what God is saying to you, so you can tell the people"; and, "to listen to people who are hurting and have problems."

DH's third tool was a clock. "Now, clocks don't mean anything to a pastor when he is preaching," he quipped, but he explained that a clock represented time, schedules, and priorities. "No, pastors don't work only on Sundays," he laughingly retorted to a kindergartner in the front row. "I put in about 50 - 60 hours a week, but I like to work, so I could live at the church and be happy."

Reaching back into his briefcase, DH pulled out a white towel. "What do you think I would need this for?" he quizzed the crowd. "Wiping the sweat off your face," one very astute little girl volunteered. "Drying off the ones who got baptized," said another clever little boy. "Yes, those are right answers," DH agreed, "But, does anyone remember a story in the Bible, where Jesus might have used a towel like this to wash something? In the Book of John, chapter 13, Jesus washed the feet of all his disciples to show them that being like Jesus meant being a servant. A minister must always be willing to serve people."

"Two more tools and then I'm done," DH said, for his concluding remarks. He pulled out a thick black Bible, and held it up high. "This is your textbook," he said. "If you want to be a pastor, and show people the ways of God, you have to know the ways of God. Learn to love the Word of God, and study the Bible as hard as you would study for one of Mr. Smith's tests." (Mr. Smith is the high school teacher.)

Finally, DH pulled out a telephone from his briefcase, and held it up. "In the ministry, you have to always be available, always "on call" for people in crisis. This phone rings a lot in our house. That's something our family has become accustomed to, and they know that I have to answer the telephone when someone calls for me. Another thing that this telephone represents is the calling of God. I don't recommend going into the ministry if you are not 100% sure that you are called to be a pastor. You have to know that you know He has called you, and God will confirm his calling to you in many ways."

Short and sweet, his presentation lasted about fifteen minutes--and then the school principal came up to ask for questions from the audience. He answered a few questions, and thanked the principal for inviting him, and then it was the mechanic's turn for "Show and Tell". Conversely, the mechanic did not bring any tools of his trade, so he had to just talk about them.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Reason #29: He's a Competitive Sports Player!

I cheered my DH on in his first game of the season with the church softball league tonight. He's a bit rusty, and more than a bit out of shape, but my man's still "got it"! He was so cute today, worrying about the game tonight. He went to the batting cages; he practiced throwing balls with Mia; he bought new cleats and conditioned his ball glove; he even looked up the softball rules on the internet to refresh his memory.

He played catcher on the church team for years, but it was fifteen years ago! Tonight, he played a catcher again. He went two for three--hitting two doubles--and he caught two foul balls, and tagged one out at home. Most of the team members acted impressed with his performance. One of the onlookers commented, "He's a pretty competitive player, isn't he?" I heard one guy say, "Wow! He did good!" after DH made solid contact with the bat and sank it into a hole deep in left field, paving the way for a double. On his second time at bat, DH hit another double, and one team member shouted, "Take two! Full steam ahead!" DH hustled, and made it to second base, but he told me later, "I didn't have the heart to tell him I was already running full steam ahead!" He got some good comments from the coach, and lots of good-natured ribbing about being the oldest guy on the team.

One thing is sure, DH is gonna be sore tomorrow! He called my cell phone while I was picking up a few groceries after work, and asked me to bring him home some "icy hot"--planning ahead for the pain. Those leg muscles got a work-out tonight; all that squatting at the batter's box!

I think it will be a good experience for DH to get back out and play a little ... as long as he doesn't hurt himself! It's fun to cheer for our team, and for him, and show the world that I'm his biggest fan!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Reason #28: He's a Wonderful Funeral Officiant!

I know preachers are supposed to do weddings and funerals; that's all part of their job description. Like the old preacher's joke says, "I can hatch 'em, match 'em, and dispatch 'em!" But, my DH truly has a gift when it comes to funeral officiating.

We had a funeral on Saturday that included FIVE ministers, one Bible college student, and various family members participating in the program. It took a well-organized, diplomatic person to plan and direct that ceremony.

Even if each minister took only five minutes (that would be a miracle!) it would take twenty-five minutes to complete the ceremony. Add to that a poem, two video presentations, three hymns, and several comments from the congregation--it could take up to three hours!

The memorial service started out well, beginning (on time!) with a slide presentation. Each pastor spoke briefly, sharing a scripture or two, and eulogizing the beloved departed one. Interspersed with the speakers, a congregational hymn was sung, and a poem was read. The service was flowing smoothly along, until ... a dear elderly lady was invited to the microphone to share memories of her time as a Bible student under the discipleship of the memorialized professor. As she began to share her memories, more memories surfaced, and more stories were shared. Five minutes passed, then ten, then twenty. It became more about her own life story than about the history of the one who had passed away.

Surely you have been subjected to a similar discomfort as a tortured member of a captive audience, when the speaker went on endlessly, oblivious to the anguished body language of the "bored-to-tears" listeners. You could probably identify with those who suffered in silence, stifling yawns, and suppressing the urge to get up and leave. So, too, you would relate to the shock and relief that passed through the crowd, when my DH sprang into action!

DH had prepared for this very "snag" in the program, by coming down from the platform, and sitting on the front row, very near the place where the microphone stood. He offered the dear lady that microphone to speak from, rather than allowing her to "take the pulpit" and hoped that would assure brevity to her remarks. When it became apparent that nothing was going to work, he very tactfully and lovingly intervened. A cell phone rang in the audience, catching the speaker off guard, and taking advantage of the brief lull, my DH rose from the pew, grabbed the woman in a half-hug, and addressed the audience with the words: "Aren't you thankful for what God has done in this woman's life?" (He used her name, of course, but I shan't.) "Let's all give the Lord praise for what He has done." And the crowd clapped, a little too enthusiastically but nonetheless, with praise!

Escorting her to the front pew, he sat her down, and then took his place back up on the platform. Immediately, in unison, three of the other ministers whispered, "Good job!" as he sat down, and one of them said, "I could never have done that!" in tones of wonderment and awe.

A second slide presentation was shown, another minister spoke, and then DH offered some closing comments. Before he gave the benediction, he announced that a microphone would be set up in the fellowship hall for those who wished to add their comments, and a video recorder would permanently memorialize their tributes.

I think my DH met the expectations of the scripture verse: Let all things be done decently and in order. (1 Corinthians 14:40 KJV) I also think he exceeded the expectations of the family and friends, in paying tribute to their loved one, by honoring him with a truly wonderful memorial service.

--And that's just one of the many reasons why I love my husband!