I’ve struggled to start a post in which I lay out all that we’ve gone through in this past year and all that we have planned for the next. This is my fourth attempt, I think, because I’m just not sure how to start. How to make it flow naturally from my thinkings. But I think I’m just going to create an abrupt beginning. I’ll just dive right in, starting with a summary of what all happened just over a year ago.
Here’s the list. In sum:
Thursday, January 20, 2011: first raised is the possibility of Ry’s serving full-time with the National Guard, working locally. This looms as a large question mark for the coming weeks.
Monday, January 24, 2011: Ry visits random doc in family doc’s practice for unusual, disconcerting symptoms accompanying an illness, which leads to abdominal X-rays and a scheduled colonoscopy.
Monday, February 7, 2011: Ry visits family doc who hears symptoms of two weeks prior and expresses total lack of concern, but says, essentially, “Sure, keep the colonoscopy appointment anyway. It can’t hurt, even if it’s unnecessary.”
Thursday, February 10, 2011: Ry has seemingly overkill colonoscopy at the GI office of a church member. “Overkill” colonoscopy reveals giant polyp that must be biopsied.
Thursday, February 17, 2011: Biopsy comes back: cancer. margins not clear. bowel resection surgery recommended.
Saturday, February 19, 2011: Ry receives word that he will begin on active duty orders as of the following Tuesday, February 22nd.
Sunday, February 20, 2011: Ry announces to our beloved church where we’ve been serving for 5 1/2 years that as of Tuesday he will no longer be serving full-time as their pastor, as, instead, he will be serving full-time as chaplain to his National Guard battalion. He offers to cover Sundays until a replacement is found.
If you go back and look at the dates, you might notice that all of that happened in one month. One. Month. Whooosh!
And that one month had an impact on the months that followed, in fact, on this entire year that has followed. In fact, that month pretty much sent our lives in a whole new direction. There’s more to the story. But it really all starts in that one month.
Well. That’s not true. God had been at work, preparing us for the major turn in our lives for some time. I just spent some time looking for those blog posts where I mentioned stirrings and leadings and God-is-up-to-something’s. I knew they were there, and I found them. And, funnily enough, I found that they were written around the same time of the year–the same time as one another, the same time as last year’s crazy month, and the same time as this year’s reflections on all of these things. Weird.
So, on February 14, 2009, I mark the start. The start of the changes, the stirrings:
I’m in a stirrings zone. I can feel God stirring me up, prompting me, poking me. I’m on the cusp of something new, but I have no clear idea of what it is. But my brain keeps stirring, stirring, stirring. And while I walk around lost in my brain stirrings, the rest of the world spins right past me. My house fell into total disarray–although we have recovered the downstairs–and my children are having more time in front of PBS than I prefer. I’m living life as I think it. I’m thinking and life is zooming in and out and past and all around me. Yet I can feel Him. Stirring, pushing, pulling, molding, calling, leading . . . and when I’m not feeling completely discomfited I’m feeling incredibly excited.
And then the following year, on March 5, 2010, I dedicated an entire post to the stirrings and leadings and what’s-going-on’s.
And I’ve already described what was going on the following February.
And this February? This February I feel like things have come together. The stirrings are making more sense, even if the details aren’t completely clear.
On Ry’s first day of seminary, a New Testament professor asked his class how many Gospels there are. And one student stood up and said, “Five: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and the fifth one is the one we are writing today.” And I buy that. I do. Now the fifth Gospel is not authoritative, but it sure does testify to the Good News of Jesus Christ who continues to live and walk among his people.
I’d like to continue our testimony by unpacking some of those events I’ve laid out up there, as well as repercussions of each one. Admittedly, it’s possible I want to do this for purely selfish reasons, to see how the whole year has played out, to remember, revisit, and make sense of it all. But I do pray that my sharing our story will serve to witness to the One who wrote it, to his love, his grace, his strength, his power, and his enduring presence amongst us.