Resignation, Part 1
Today’s post is a work of fiction. It the first part of a story that will be appearing over the next few Saturdays.
The alarm woke Donald up at 5:00 a.m. like it had for almost every Sunday morning for the past thirty years. Normally, he would get out of bed quickly, but this morning was different. He stayed there an extra couple of minutes before he slipped out of the covers onto the floor.
As he left the bedroom, he turned and paused. His gaze fell on Laura who was still sleeping. The routine was that he had that first hour to himself before she woke up at 6:00. No need to change things today. There were plenty of changes to come over the next few days and weeks.
The first stop was the coffee maker. Three scoops and six cups were normal, but today there would be need for some extra for both of them. Sleeplessness had been visiting much too often of late for both of them. He was glad that it was almost over. Thirty years of ministry and none of those years had been as hard as the last one.
Donald sat down in his favorite chair like every morning. He read his favorite Psalm, the one that helped quieten his soul. He thought about how good the God he served was and the work Christ had done for him on the cross. The uneasiness that wanted to take him over began to subside. Finally, he was able to pray.
Donald prayed first, of course, for Laura, when it came time to pray for people. He prayed that she would hold up until they entered the next phase of life and ministry together. The past year had been harder on her, perhaps, than him. She took it all a little more personal and to heart than Donald. He had simply chalked it all up to being part of the territory.
Next, Donald prayed for the kids. ”Kids!”, he though. They were not really kids any more. Grown, married and with children, he was glad they were not in the thick of things now. This would all be harder if they were still at home and he had to be concerned about how it all affected them as well.
Donald prayed for June. He had spent many days at the hospital with her through the surgeries and the treatments. She had been in remission for a while, but it was back, seemingly with a vengeance. She and Laura were especially close. The visit last night had gone about as well as it could have. She understood, but it was going to be hard on her to not have her pastor and friend available as much as it had been.
He then prayed for Paul. That seemed strange to him, but he held no ill feelings toward him. Truth be told, what had happened a year ago probably was not quite the event he had thought it was at the time. In fact, if Donald was honest, Paul was probably a scapegoat of sorts. He hated that things had ended the way they had with Paul. He thought things would settle down after that, but it seems the agendas ramped up even more after Paul had left.
Donald had to make himself pray for Bill. He had not thought much of it the first time Bill and a couple of others had come to him after Paul had left. He did not foresee that they would continue to come to him week after week demanding to know his vision and what direction he was going to lead the church. They wanted to know what he was going to do to keep folks from leaving. They wanted him to implement new programs that would attract younger people. Perhaps he did not know the dissension that Bill and his crew were sowing. Regardless, Donald prayed for Bill.
Finally, Donald prayed for David. David was his closest friend in the congregation. He was a deacon and had stood by Donald through it all, even when the other deacons followed Bill and began to press the two of them. David, of course, knew what was coming later in the day. Donald was afraid of the damage that standing with him had caused David. David had assured him that the was a big boy and could handle whatever was to come. Donald prayed that was true.
After praying, Donald read over his sermon. The last one that he would ever preach for this church that he had pastored for ten years. It was the last in a series he had been preaching from Galatians over the past few months. Then he pulled out the statement he would read after finishing his message. He scanned over it, although he knew it by heart. He had been preparing it for almost two months. In it he would offer two weeks notice, but he had no illusions that the deacons would accept it. There was too much water under the bridge. He knew they would encourage him to take his vacation as his notice.
With that, he closed his Bible and made his way to the kitchen. He pulled two cups out of the cabinet and filled them with the hot coffee. He made his way back to the bedroom like he had thousands of times before to wake Laura. They had to face the day. A new life was almost upon them. They just had to make it a few more hours.