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Resignation, Part 38

Dale Adkins pulled into the driveway, parking behind Bill Johnston’s truck.  He had called shortly after the search team meeting to see when a good time to come by would be.  He had spoken to Sharon, Bill’s wife, and she wanted him to come right after their doctor appointment the next day.  Dale couldn’t pick out what the issue was, but he definitely heard worry in her voice.

Dale stepped out and looked around.  Bill’s yard looked neat, as though it was well taken care of.  He imagined that Bill did all sorts of lawn maintenance during each season of the year.  He saw a good-sized outbuilding that he suspected housed an organized workshop.  He guessed that Bill had spent a lot of time in there over the years.

Dale walked onto the porch and rang the doorbell.  He stepped back and waited.  He looked down and around.  Soon enough, he heard steps coming to the door.  A woman opened the door and smiled.  Even though he hadn’t met her, Dale knew that this was Sharon.  He could see that the kindness he heard on the phone matched the kindness beaming at him through the door.

“Pastor Dale?”, Sharon asked just a bit of hesitation.

“Hi Sharon!!!”, Dale replied back with a smile on his face.

“Come in.  We really appreciate you coming by.  Bill just raved about you after the interview.  He said t hat you were just what out church needed.  He also said that I would really like you.”

Bill smiled.  “I hope that I can live up to the expectation Bill has given you for me.  How is he doing?”

Sharon dropped her head.  “He’s getting worse everyday.  He’s been a bit too proud.  He doesn’t really want anyone to know that his condition is getting worse.  You are the only one that he has wanted to see.”

Dale looked around.  The inside of the home matched the outside.  Everything was neat and tidy, everything in its place.
Sharon led him to the living room.  Asleep there in a recliner lay Bill.  Sharon pulled a chair over and set it beside Bill.  She motioned for Dale to sit down.  She gently began to wake Bill up.  Slowly, he opened his eyes and smiled up at her.

“You’ve got company.”  Sharon looked toward Dale sitting there.  Bill followed her gaze and focused on Dale.  He grinned as he recognized who Dale was.

“Hello, Preacher.  How are you doing?”  Bill just kept grinning as he said that, as though there some sort of joke was behind his words.

“I”m doing fine, Bill.  How are you?”  Dale sensed that Bill was going to tell him something, he just didn’t know what direction he was headed.

“Well, it depends.”  Bill just kept smiling.  “If you want to know how I am right now, I’m a little tired.  Otherwise, I’m dying.”  Bill said this just matter-of-fact like, as though he was perfectly fine with the idea.

“I’m sorry, Bill, I don’t understand.”  Dale just looked at Bill with a questioning look.

“Preacher, I just got back from the doctor.  There’s nothing they can do about this brain tumor.  I don’t have much longer.  It could be a few days to a few weeks.  Sharon and I just celebrated our last Christmas.  I won’t be here next year.”

Dale dropped his eyes.  He had only met Bill a couple of times now, but he liked him.  He wasn’t sure what to make of this.  Bill seemed too at ease with this.

“You seem to be taking this in stride, Bill.  I’m sorry, but I don’t understand.”

Bill smiled .  “I know it must seem strange that I’m so calm about this.  At first, I was devastated.  But I realize that I’m going home.  I also realized that I have a short time to make things better here.  That’s one reason why I changed how I worked with the team.  The Lord gave me that chance.  He could have taken me at any time.”

Dale sat back a bit.  He was trying to process what Bill was telling him.  He knew some of how Bill had been in the past.  Now, he was trying to change the future of the church he had damaged.  He turned to Sharon, who was smiling as well.

“I’ve seen such a change in Bill since he first told me.  We had argued quite a bit over how he had handled things in the past.  I had prayed and prayed that the Lord would change him and use him.  Now, He is.  We have a short time left.  We’ve got a lot to do while he still have time.”

Dale just looked back and forth between them.  He saw a man and woman who loved each other and who had come to terms with what was to come.  He couldn’t imagine the emotions they had gone through over the past few weeks.

“Well, what can I do for you besides be your pastor.  I’ll be glad to help in any way that I can.”

Bill looked to Sharon and then back to Dale.  “First, there’s an envelope there that has my resignation from the search team.  Someone else needs to take my place.  I’m not going to be up to it going forward.  I would appreciate it if you would give it to the team and then the church.”

Sharon handed the envelope over to Dale.  He took it and nodded.  He wasn’t expecting this to be one of his first  tasks as interim pastor.

“Is there anything else?”  Dale just looked back and forth between them.

“There is one thing.  Do you have  a bottle of olive oil?  The Bible says that the elders should be pray and anoint the sick with oil”

Dale smiled.  He didn’t recall ever having done this, but there was a first time for everything.

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