Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fork in the Road: Three

In the previous episode we noted our protagonist choosing the pathway that led to college rather than taking the fork that led to immediate employment with a promise of a bright and lucrative future.

I drew a little chart before I started writing these episodes, vignettes, whatever one chooses to call them.  The  map contains fully a dozen Ys.  I think I need to be selective, lest I bore you to tears.  Thus I will skip over the various forks I encountered in pursuing a college education, and there were many.  Suffice it to say that after seven years, a wedding which united me with the young lady of whom I was enamored, and the birth of a daughter, I completed the baccalaureate degree which I pursued.

Then one day, almost before the ink on the diploma had dried, I got a letter from the secretary of the board of a community church in a small town in Central Washington State.  Like the phone call I received right after graduating high school, this missive purported to be a firm job offer.  The pastor of the congregation had moved on, and while they had an interim pastor they were looking for a young man, a go-getter who would provide the spiritual guidance  and perform all the other chores that a pastor performs.  This is a full-time job, and it pays an adequate salary to provide for your family.

Now how did that happen?  I was not a theology student, nor a graduate in Christian ministries, and I had no intention of ever pursuing a seminary degree.  My mother, in fact, was the only person who had ever suggested the ministry to me as a possible career.

Well, here's how that happened.  I majored in philosophy and had taken some courses in biblical literature along the way.  My major professor had been approached by this congregation seeking his recommendation for a young man to take over the pastoral responsibilities in their community.  He recommended me, and here I stood, once again, stunned.

Suffice it to say that my wife had never entertained the notion of being a preacher's wife, no more had I considered being a preacher.  We had traveled through Central Washington on our way west, but neither of us had ever been in the town from which the offer came.   Population, 3800.  Climate, temperate, semi-arid.  In the back of our minds we were always entertaining the notion of moving back to the Midwest to be near our families.  Central Washington was still over 2000 miles from home, and nearly 300 miles from the friends we had accumulated around the Sound.

I drafted a carefully worded letter, thanking the board for their consideration.  I would be happy, I said, to visit the community to get acquainted with the people.  I will give careful and prayerful consideration to your offer.

Next installment will take you into the life we found in the ministry. 


11 comments:

Shelly said...

Such weighty decisions for such young shoulders!

Jim said...

Wow! That's quite a fork! Looking forward to the next installment.

Vee said...

I had no idea! Do you ever look back and ask, "What if?"

Secondary Roads said...

A wise and well considered response to such an unanticipated opportunity.

vanilla said...

Shelly, it seems to me that some of the most important decisions of our lives are made while we are yet "green."

Jim, life is fraught with decisions. One can only imagine "what might have been."

Vee, true story. Yes, I am looking back in this little series and imagining "what if?"

Grace said...

Can we have the next chapter tomorrow? Please?

vanilla said...

Chuck, would that all decisions were made "prayerfully and carefully."

Grace, we are thrilled that we have so piqued your interest. I think it will be ready for Thursday. Will that work for you?

Lin said...

Oh wow. That came outta nowhere and I would imagine that would catch your breath. I'm waiting for Chapter 2.

vanilla said...

Lin, it was a stunning experience.

Grace said...

I love your stories - I could listen all day...Thursday will have to do ::sigh::

vanilla said...

Grace, you are so very kind. Thank you. Will be here tomorrow.