Don’t excite love, don’t stir it up, until the time is ripe – and you’re ready.
(Song of Solomon 8:4)
The verse cited above is one that comes to mind as I reflect on the experience of my mother – who found herself widowed with two young children at the age of forty-one. It was a harrowing experience for her to be sure. Not quite two years before our family had relocated from Orange County to a northern suburb of New Jersey so that my father could accept a new job. But in just over six months cardiac issues had revealed themselves in a way that led to his untimely death – leaving my mother with a great deal of responsibility: the need to rebuild not only her own life, but the life of our family.
To effect this rebuilding, my mother engineered our move back to Orange County, completed a teaching certificate at Long Beach State (where my father had once been a professor), and set about looking for a job teaching high school English. As circumstances unfolded, the department chair who hired her at Fountain Valley High School wound up marrying her roughly a year and a half later. To make a long story short, that marriage – which was eventually a great blessing to them both – had more than its share of struggles in its early years.
And why? I believe it was at some point in my seminary years (perhaps a dozen years into their marriage) when my mother felt led to remark to me, “I got married again too soon.” As she went on to explain, feeling the weight of responsibility for our family she went for something of a “quick fix.” She thought a new husband was just what she needed to bring order into her own life, and to come alongside her two young sons. But what she discovered was that he had challenges of his own, and together they had more. In hindsight, she said, she should have taken more time to discover who she was apart from my father, to discern where she wanted to go in life herself, and to reflect on how a new marriage might be different from the one she’d had before. In other words, when she got married again, she really wasn’t “ready.”
Of course, I’m relating this story because I believe there are good analogies here for PaliPres as this congregation seeks to “get ready” to call its next installed pastor. In the life of the church also there is the need for self-discovery, for reflection upon present and future directions, and for discernment regarding new leadership needs.
And so this will be the work of the coming year – beginning Sunday September 30 (10:00 A.M. – 2:30P.M.) when we gather to explore (in an in-depth way) the best of who we are and who we have been through the years. My prayer is that through the process that is about to unfold, the stage will be set for a new marriage that will be a blessing to both congregation and pastor for many years to come!
Therefore, as you, I seek to continue…
In His Service,