So this past week has been quite a busy week. Not that every week isn’t busy, but this past week seemed to be quite eventful. Both personally and in ministry, it’s been a fine balance between death and well rebirth or in the case of sea monkeys – sex and lots of it. You see, my 7 year old son has pet sea monkeys. A couple weeks ago, he asked me why so many of them were giving each other piggy back rides. And in a temporary out-of-body experience, I actually heard myself saying, “Well, when two people love each other, they give each other piggy back rides.” Not my best sex talk, but since this is my first one, it’s all I could think of in the moment. And now this week, many of the babies have hatched and while I can’t quite see them with the naked eye, Google tells me we can soon expect 100 more piggy back rides happening in the future. Better get a bigger tank.
Also along the lines of rebirth, I had the honor of installing the new pastor at the Korean Presbyterian Church in San Francisco. This church has been looking for a pastor for a few years – a leader to help their struggling membership. It was great to go as a family to see the energy and enthusiasm around their newly installed pastor. It was quite a family event as my husband preached and I asked the installation questions. Already they have seen a jump in their membership as this pastor has begun connecting with the community.
This week has also been difficult as we continue to monitor our beloved 9 year old dog as he is approaching his last days. Every day, we check to see if he’s eating and drinking, but mostly our job is to spoil him and make sure he is comfortable. My son has been quite diligent in giving him his medicine. And my 4 year old daughter often asks me to hold Chewy so she can pet him and give him some love. A couple weeks ago, I had to have a very different kind of talk with my son. I took him to Chewy’s favorite dog park that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. We talked about what it means to put him to sleep and I tried to answer all his questions. Later that day, I overheard my son telling his sister.
Son to my daughter: “Look, Chewy is going to die.”
My daughter: “Mooooommmm, Chewy is dying?”
Sigh. Not quite as pastoral as I put it, but I guess that’s one way to do it. No matter how you tell it, it still feels the same.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of preaching at the closing worship service for Fruitvale Presbyterian Church in Oakland. This is a congregation with the guidance of their pastor, Abby King Kaiser, that decided it was time to close their church. They too have been monitoring the health of their congregation and decided it was time. You can read a little of their journey on Abby’s blog. This also was a family event. When I told my daughter we were going to church on a Saturday, she asked if we were going to my church or my husband’s church or the Korean church. I just said it was a different church and she responded, “Oh, it’s an everybody kind of church.” It is an everybody kind of church and that was truly felt as members of Fruitvale past and present were commissioned to attend other churches in the area.
It’s been quite a lesson in the cycle of life and ministry. Lessons that I am not taking for granted.