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Resignation, Part 15

This is a work of fiction. You can read the rest of the chapters here.

Fred McGinley woke up to steady rain on Monday morning. He had felt it coming the day before as some of the familiar creaks and aches returned with the front that was moving through. The stiffness and soreness reminded him of glory days and old injuries, good times and good fishing in the mountains. Most of all it reminded him of long walks with Betty, one of their favorite things together.

He reached over to his right, to the place where she had laid beside him for sixty years. She had been gone for two years and he still reached out to her every morning. Every morning he missed her more. Her birthday would be coming up soon and he would write her another birthday letter. Instead of leaving it on her pillow, now he took it to where she lay.

Fred eased out of bed to head to the kitchen. It was 4:30, but he seemed to need less sleep than he did as a younger man. He also knew a nap would be in order. He began his day with a bottle of water. He proceeded to prepare his coffee. This allowed him to wake up before he began the business of his day. There wasn’t much he could do, but what he did everyday was probably the most important of his life.

He hadn’t always loved the Lord like he did now. Certainly not when he met Betty. He had been some sort of rascal back then. The only reason he had gone to church back then was because that was the only way he able to court her. That was the stipulation her father gave him to be able to see her. It cut into his coon hunting on Saturday nights. It definitely cut into his fishing in the mountains on Sundays. He looked back at those times with fondness and appreciation. If it hadn’t been for her father’s insistence, he didn’t know where he would be now.

It took a while for the Lord to get a hold of him. He kept going to church, even after they were married, but it wasn’t until about two years afterwards that he came to know the Lord. It was when Betty was pregnant with Sam. It struck him how important it was to be a father. It was when he realized that everything was not right between him and the Father. He wrestled with it for months. Finally, he couldn’t take any more. He surrendered and began the journey he was continuing this morning. He looked forward to this time that he spent talking with the Lord and nourishing on the word. Today, with the rain, there would even be extra time.

He began his time with the Lord just praising Him. Praising Him for his grace and mercy and the salvation that he was given. Fred praised him for the great life he had been blessed with. He prayed for Sam and Jules. He and Betty had only had the one child, but Jules had been the daughter they had never had when Sam brought her into their lives. He would probably get a call from both of them sometime today. Maybe one of them would even come over for lunch. Jules might be even bring him a slice of pie.

His prayer shifted to church. Was now the biggest mess the church had been in during his time there? He wasn’t sure. There had been some rough times for sure. Usually around the times they were searching for a pastor. How many times had he been on a search committee? He couldn’t recall. Too many, for sure. He had thought that the one that had brought Donald to their church would be his last one. Surely this one would be.

He prayed for the members of the search team. He had watched a couple of them grow up. He remembered with fondness watching them be baptized. He didn’t remember when he started, but he started marking down when kids were baptized. Sometimes they and their parents forgot the exact day. He developed a reputation for being the historian of the church and several people came to him when they couldn’t find their baptism certificate.

Eventually, his prayer moved to Bill Johnson. He wasn’t sure there had been anyone in the church during his lifetime like Bill. Bill wanted to be the big fish. He was a bully. Fred nodded to himself. That was the best description for him. He bullied a lot of people into following him. A lot of people who were nominally involved in the church supported him. He hadn’t grown up in the church. He had arrived one Sunday and from the beginning tried to announce his presence with authority. Fred had grimaced when Bill had been elected deacon. He still wasn’t sure how he had become chairman of the deacons.

Fred was concerned with Bill in just about every way imaginable. He prayed that the Lord would get a hold of Bill. He begged that he wouldn’t be a hindrance to the search for a new pastor. He even prayed that it would be a lot easier if the Lord would just take him home to see Betty than go through this. But he also prayed that he would do whatever the Lord wanted of him during this process.

Fred ended his prayer by praying for the new pastor. He trusted that the Lord already had that man picked out. He prayed that the Lord was stirring his heart to be ready for the move to this church. He prayed for the man’s family. He had seen enough to know that it was hard on the wives, but more so on the children.

Fred came out of his prayer time and went to the coffee maker. He poured himself a cup and looked out the window. The rain had definitely settled in. He took his cup to his chair and picked up his Bible. He would start out in the Psalms and then move to Luke. Then he would spend some time with Paul. Then he would finish with some time in Nehemiah. The way he read the Bible these days, he usually read through it two or three times a year. He couldn’t think of a better way to start his day.

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