Archive for memories

Best. Visit. Home. Ever.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on July 9, 2010 by prkt

Last weekend was my 20 year high school class reunion. I went into the thing at ease. The people I wanted to see I would see. The people who didn’t give me the time of day all those years of school might change or might not change. It was their loss if they didn’t and my gain if they did.

The reunion was OK. My wife got to meet some classmates. That was great. What was worth the trip needs a little bit of backstory.

Twenty years ago this summer my golf coach threw away his golf clubs. He thought he would never play golf again. He was burned out on coaching and on teaching (English teacher). A most unfortunate event ended his teaching career and besmirched his character. An extended midlife crisis (my words) took place. Things settled down for him a few years ago and he took up golf for the first time in 17 years.

Fast forward to last Saturday. Four golf team members from the Class of 1990 were together again at the course where we once kicked the snot out of most of our conference. The name had changed, but the greenskeeper had returned after an extended absence. The course was in fantastic shape! We though, well, maybe Coach would show, maybe not.

He showed up looking better than he did ten years ago in the early stages of his midlife crisis.

I played an excellent round after not playing for several months. Snaked in a par putt…downhill, sidehill. Chipped in for birdie on the last hole too! We had more fun that humanly allowed!

Lunch at a local restaurant was even better. All of us had grown up to become happy and successful at what we’re doing (two ministers, one dentist, one medical researcher). We grew up too, realizing mistakes and seeing how that built character.

When we were about to depart, my beloved coach began to choke up. He would later write me telling how he needed this day more than anything. That night would be his 45th high school class reunion…the first reunion he has ever attended. The golf, the lunch, and the conversation were needed. It brought closure, but also opened doors to the future.

I’ve caught the golf bug again. I put my clubs down for the most part when our first child was born. When we moved up to Momence, my desire for the game was almost gone. I’d rather bowl than golf. That’s changed as of last weekend. Now I’m looking for some golf buddies here. I have a few church members that play. I’m hoping to organize an outing before cold weather comes.

I don’t look forward to going home. Too many bad memories of school and other stuff. This was a great visit home. I was privileged to preach at my home congregation. I saw a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a long time. Mom and Dad are fine and so is my family back home. Life is good for them, as it is for me.

Don’t close the door entirely on the past. You never know what surprises might lurk around the corner. What a pleasant surprise to see my old coach get his life back together again. What joy it was to be out on the course with four old friends. It was as if it was the fall of 1989 all over again. We picked up where we left off.

If I could save time in a bottle, I’d save last weekend. It was a keeper.

– KT


New Resource and Other Thoughts About Pastors As Human Beings

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 13, 2009 by prkt

Pastor Todd Peperkorn “came out” as the author of the fantastic blog “I Trust When Dark My Road” this week. His blog is the inspiration for this blog. I’ve known Pastor Peperkorn for a while. He’s been great help to me as I learn to cope with my illness.

His book is the same title as his blog. You may download an electronic copy here. You may also order a hard copy there too.

Pastor Peperkorn was nice enough to let me read a pre-publication copy of his book some time back. It’s an amazing book. He bares his soul to show how depression affects pastors as persons. Frankly, it took guts for him to tell his story. There may be some pastors who have a similar story but keep it private for fear someone in their congregation or denomination will use the illness as a tool to ruin his livelihood. That is not my case, God be praised.

Pastors are people too. We suffer as others suffer. Sometimes we do our suffering very, very privately. Take for example a dear saint I buried a few years ago. We’ll call her Maxine (not her real name). Maxine was a shut-in who came to church now and then but the last year or so of her life was too sick to come. It was so much fun to visit her! We talked about our favorite food and our favorite beer. She loved pickled herring and Limburger cheese with Budweiser! Talk about a combination!

Maxine passed away after a long struggle with illness. It broke my heart to lose her. I made it through the funeral, the committal, and the burial. Not long after the post-funeral dinner, I broke down and cried. But my tears were never seen in public. The pastor must be a rock for his people. I’m glad I held back long enough to cry at home. I still think about Maxine from time to time. What a grand lady. I miss her. But I’ll see her again.

Pastors are people too. I can’t say it enough. We hurt when church members die. We ache when people reject the faith to our face. We feel helpless when we teach and teach and teach but no one seems to heed the teaching. We rejoice when great things happen to our people. We rejoice when people yearn for the Gifts of the Gospel. We bask in the joy of baptisms, confirmations, and weddings. It’s not just a job. It’s being a grafted in member of a family.

You might not grab all of that from Pastor Peperkorn’s book, but it’s in there. Joy, sadness, fear, anxiety, and more joy. That’s the ministry for you. That’s life for you. And lately life’s been good for me. I pray the same for you.