Thursday, February 5, 2009
Here's a tiny tribute to a fine person.
DH is a great guy. We met during the first week of seminary, twenty nine years ago and we became fast friends, through we never dated during our seminary years. We were part of a group of six inseparable pals who studied together, ate every meal together, supported one another as our hearts were broken and celebrated as they began to mend.
All six of us went our separate ways after graduation,DH to serve three small Presbyterian churches in Maine, and I to serve as a college chaplain and a member of the faculty at what was then a small Presbyterian women's college. Our other friends were everywhere from Fresno to Philadelphia and other places, too, but that was back in the days of inexpensive flights, and as six single young adults, we were an extension of each other's families. We were present for ordinations, family funerals, and often New Year's eves. It was a little like "The Big Chill" without the controlled substances.
A few years went by and there we were, officiating or standing up with one another at each other's weddings. Later it would be time to baptize each others' babies.
Five years out of seminary, I was invited to preach the charge at DH's installation at his second call at a Presbyterian church by the sea in New Jersey. His family was there, and a lot of our friends from seminary. It was a glorious weekend. He called me a few days later and made a small romantic profession. I thought it would be a good idea if we dated, since we never had dated each other. It was a sweet and memorable courtship, with a postcard from him every day between October and December and an almost daily phone call after 11:00 p.m., when the rates changed.
We were engaged by Christmas.
Two children and two golden retrievers later,twenty-one years have passed and we are still best friends. We've served the Church separately and together as co-pastors, but for the past five and a half years, I've been a head of staff at a multi-staff church in the suburbs, and DH had been on the development staff of a church-related institution of graduate learning...until two weeks ago, when both my DH and his colleague's positions were eliminated as part of a much larger plan to address the economic distress of their institution.
Times are tough for nearly everybody. I know that. Many members of the upper middle class congregation I serve have been directly affected by layoffs and cutbacks. It doesn't matter if one works for a bank or for a seminary; the economic crisis is real.
My dear spouse is one resilient guy. He has gifts and talents for ministry that far exceed my own. He's a delightful and careful preacher, an authentic and loving pastor, and ironically, one hell of a fundraiser. The problems are greater than one person can address. As a family, our needs are being met and DH will take this time to discern what's next for him vocationally. Will he return to parish ministry? Will he take the plunge again with development work? Will he teach? I'm fully supportive of DH choosing carefully-- because it's not a job; it's his vocation, and it's important to feel fulfilled in one's calling. I'm thankful that we have the luxury of time and resources to give him space to discern what's next.
So many prayers for so many people this day. So many prayers.