I am about 11 days 15 hours and 31 minutes from my final moments on staff in the Pastoral Care Department at Gateway Church. Some people know, some do not and others… well, they might know but they have not said a word.
Here is my To-Do List for the next season:
1. File my DBA and get a Tax License.
2. Get my airtime secured at Fish Bowl Radio Network.
3. Finish home office set up and reorganize recently evacuated art space/office.
4. Live the Creative Life: Art, writing, speaking, teaching and following Jesus all the way.
5. Figure out my plan for a 2 hours weekly Blog Radio show!
EXIT. STAGE. RIGHT.
On my birthday a week and a half ago, I attended my last staff chapel and found myself giddy at the thought. I mean, I will miss the great messages and the “inside scoop.” I’ll miss rubbing elbows with the staff members I have gotten to know and friends I have made along the path these last three years… I will. But, in my heart I know and I am ready. This transition will be a little bit nostalgia and grief and a whole lot of JOY because “I’m movin’ on up… To the heights… To that deluxe appointment from on H—i-igh.” Just quoting The Jefferson’s theme song with my own little bit of an inspirational twist.
That afternoon you might have thought I was high. I felt pleasant, downright joyful and giddy all at the same time. I realized as I greeted visitors to the Ministry Center who were in one form of crisis or another that they might be wondering what is wrong with the happy girl who just checked me in.
This, and, it was my birthday. AND. My husband – well he didn’t so much as pick up a card but he let me buy him dinner at B. J.’s Brewhouse because I love their pork chops. YES. I. DO.
Now before you go bagging on my husband for this seemingly thoughtless gesture please realize that this did indeed happen, but (drumroll please)… Are you ready for it? I. DID. NOT. CARE.
Yes, that’s right. I asked him if he really let the day slip by without so much as thinking of getting me a small token of frivolity for my birthday, but I let it go at that. He had. And when he offered to take me out to dinner he said, “As long as it is not too expensive.” Because he was thinking he only had $20.00 in his wallet. But that was sooo not true.
So I treated him to dinner with my birthday loot and we laughed and watched the Texas Rangers play ball. He did spring for the Pizookie – Triple Chocolate with an extra scoop of ice cream.
It was not an eventful day, though my co-workers made me feel loved and valued complete with festive desk decorations and gifts. My daughters texted me. My mom called, texted and Facebooked me with her Birthday greetings while my dad insisted they call me on their way to dinner and sing me Happy Birthday. It is still in my voicemail. A wonderfully ordinary day when many who love me expressed with the simplest words on Facebook that totally melted my heart. I felt at rest and blessed – and like I received more than I expected. Sweet.
Which brings me back to the point: My birthday just happened to fall on the very last day that I would enjoy the privilege of Staff Chapel at Gateway Church. That is when it happened.
And just to be clear – there are now exactly 11 days 14 hours and 58 minutes left in my tenure on staff at Gateway Church. That folks is called a Short Timer’s Clock. And that day my brain began its slow digression into Short Timer’s Syndrome.
Short Timer’s Syndrome was originally termed for war-time military personal who were coming to the end of their tour in the combat. It described a relatively unpleasant transition full of anxiety and worry, as well as an inability to focus on the assignments and missions the person involved in…
For the purposes of this post, it is what happens when a person is coming to the end of a goal or season and getting ready to begin something new. Like when my father retired from his thirty plus years of civil service in the 90s. He purchased. And I’m not even kidding here. A Short Timer’s Clock that he programmed to count down the exact number of days, hours, minutes and seconds until he officially retired.
That my friends is Short Timer’s Syndrome. Being so anxious to start the next season of your life that you have a really, really, Really, REALLY. REALLY. Difficult time focusing on the season you bring to a close.
I will be sitting working on a project and suddenly my mind will drift to something of the next season. I feel lost in that moment thinking about the plans and dreams that are hatching in my heart until the phone rings and I have to come back to reality to meet the inquiry on the phone. I’ve been cutting and pasting emails and making lists so I do not forget anything important. Still, I feel like I missing lots of things along the way. I am already two months down the road.
A few days ago I met with a woman who is now on staff at Gateway just to chat. Back in the days when we were brand new to the church, she worked as an intern and became my very first Gateway friend. We had a good talk about the future and she helped me realize some of the ways I have grown and even mentioned a few things I have not even thought of doing to prepare for Number 5 up there. She gave me sweet fellowship, honoring words and precious prayer that filled my cup to be sure. It indeed may push me to do what needs to be done to overcome Short Timer’s Syndrome and actually finish well.
I walked in to my oversight’s office on Thursday and reminded her that the time is growing near. Two Weeks. She frowned and I said, “We may really have to grieve this.”
So a week from Monday I will be sitting with my friend, Alex, as she begins to work the ropes of my position. I know she’ll be great and hope she will understand if my mind evacuates before my body actually leaves the building.
In light of all this wonderful information – would you please pray for me? I want to finish well and move into my new season with all the burst of anticipation and joy that I have been feeling building for a long, long time.
Today on Facebook I shared: “When children are little their imaginations run wild with possibilities. As we grow, life and disappointment beat our childhood dreams right out of us! Responsibility consumes our time and as adults we forget what it means to dream. Vain imagination is all about my glory, but divine imagination is a gift from God activated by Holy Spirit & our faith to awaken our hearts & minds with possibility for us & glory for Him! All things are possible for those who believe! Dream Again!”
A foretaste of things to come. Be blessed and I will see you around the blog!