A fleeting thought has morphed into an interesting list.
(In no particular order.)
Because I’m a pastor …
- I’ve been present at the death of more people than I can recall, from age 1 to 95.
- I’ve been on the international space station (now that’s a long story).
- I’ve lived in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Alabama, Vermont, and New Hampshire. All of them have been interesting and have a fond place in my memory.
- I get paid to drink beer (that’s another story!).
- I’ve been privy to the private lives of others and live as though I don’t know the stories.
- I’ve had strangers approach me in grocery stores, airplanes, and other public places with stories of woe and with vehement disgust or disapproval for something others might have done.
- I’ve lived in a fishbowl where the smallest gesture or fleeting facial response has been wildly misinterpreted by people looking for my approval.
- Young children have thought that I was Jesus. (My own children never made that mistake.)
- I’ve been honored to share in family joys and sorrows, like baptisms, weddings, and funerals.
- I’ve been treated like a functionary who is supposed to be at the beck and call of those demanding attention.
- I work long hours, many days a week. An 8 hour day is a luxury.
- I don’t travel for most holidays.
- I’ve observed an autopsy and open heart surgery.
- I’ve been present when the bodies of a family have been removed from their home after being shot to death, and then breaking the news to a mother.
- I’ve sat through thousands of meetings, most of which are not as interesting to me as they are to the other participants.
- I have the distinct pleasure of announcing the forgiveness of God and distributing the body and blood of Christ.
- I’ve learned to play the bass and to sing.
- I’ve met thousands of interesting people, and a very few that I wish I had not met.
- My wardrobe is pretty simple.
- Some people are willing to be my friend, some can’t get past what I do.
- I’m able to teach and to challenge and to explore some of the deeper themes of scripture and life.
- Some people automatically think I’m a Republican.
- Some people automatically think I’m a Democrat.
- Most people think they automatically know what I believe and how I think.
- You know where I will be on Christmas Eve, Holy Week, Easter, and Sunday mornings. (But you would be surprised how many people still ask if I’m going away for Christmas!)
- I learned to read Hebrew and Greek, and still retain more than I thought I would.
- Most people think I make too much money. Don’t all pastors take vows of poverty?
- People apologize for swearing in my presence.
- I talk a lot and hope that it right.
- I listen a lot, and hear more than I let on.
- I’ve left people I care a great deal about because there was a sense that God was calling me somewhere else. It had nothing to do with the people I left, although many of them think so.
- I know people talk about me behind my back … and it’s not all favorable.
- I’ve learned a great deal about many different careers and the challenges inherent in those careers.
- While people think that pastors still get perks … I don’t.
- I park far away from the church doors on Sunday morning to make it easier for others to park close to the front doors.
- I’m often exhausted on Sunday afternoons.
- I pray less often than I should.
- There are stretches of time when I just can’t seem to get motivated to do much at all. I attribute it to weariness. I still press on.
- I live with a great deal of hope and promise.
- There is so much more that I could add … but I set a time limit for my list.
Note: I recognize that most of these are not unique to the office of pastor … but they are true for me because I am a pastor.