It’s the end of another year, and since I really don’t do Christmas cards I thought I would give the rundown here. Unlike 2015 which began well and ended horribly, 2016 began horribly and is ending well, at least for the most part. It’s been another year of transition, but I am very hopeful that things are stabilizing now. This year I changed jobs twice and changing jobs is always stressful.
When the year began I was working for J.B. Hunt, a trucking company. I spent New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas, NV and I drove to Reno New Year’s Day. During the couple of months I was with J.B. Hunt I traveled from coast to coat about 4 or 5 times. I certainly got the miles. One thing I didn’t get is heat. The company didn’t allow APU’s in their trucks so I couldn’t have the high powered transformers necessary to run fridgerators and microwaves along with heaters. When I wasn’t driving I was freezing during the night. So when my sister-in-law told me about a different company, I was hopeful. One of her friends drove for the company and was promising way more than the company actually delivered, but I trusted him. BIG MISTAKE.
Schuster wasn’t a particularly bad company, it’s just things went bad. I was away from home way too much and stuck in too many docks waiting to be loaded and not getting paid. I don’t think it would have mattered which company. I am simply not a truck driver. The longer I was doing it, the more depressed I was getting. It paid the bills, but it was literally killing me or at least getting me to think death would have been a lot better.
I think my family knew how desperate I was getting, so we were searching hard for other ideas. My education was in ministry. At one time, I was certain that I was being divinely called to preach. When I took the preaching job in Mena, I felt it was an answer to many prayers in so many ways. Now I know the call to preach was nothing more than a figment of my imagination. I’ve dove into it big time twice in my life now, and it certainly won’t be happening again. I’ve wasted way too much of my life persuing a misguided imagination. If God wants me to be a preacher, he’s going to have to tell me in no uncertain terms.
Still, I wanted work that would be meaningful and serve a higher purpose than simply paying the bills. So Paula and I began considering being houseparents again. I applied at a couple homes, but I was very hopeful for the position at Southern Christian Chrildren’s Home in Morrilton. When we interviewed I as even more excited. We were offered the job and immediately began preparations for the move. We were moved by June 12.
Southern Christian Children’s Home
It’s not like I have a trouble free life now, but this is the best job I have ever had. I love the kids we work with, I love to work with the horses, I love the staff, I love the environment, I love the congregation we attend, and I love getting to see my children at least every couple weeks.
There is always tension and conflict inside of an environment like this. Everybody has their moods. The kids come from all sorts of different backgrounds and we all have different ideas on what we want life to be like. I’ll take it. Even my worst day here is better than my best day driving a truck. And even though I enjoyed being a preacher, I feel this is a much better setting for me.
University Church of Christ
It wasn’t long before we found a church that we were happy with either. It does require some travel to get there, but we are happy to do it. I’m no longer in the spotlight and I’m still finding my way, but there’s so much that I really like about this congregation. Out of all the churches of Christ I have ever worked with this is the most friendly, most accepting, and most worshipful, while being the least dogmatic, exclusive or hoplessly bound to worthless and harmful man-invented traditions.
I guess all of us knew something was wrong with Paula’s mother quite a while back, but it has turned out worse than our imaginations. Everyone noticed that my she was slurring her words beginning last year. I think we were concerned, but she is not the type of person you can tell what to do. But as time went by, things only got worse and more problems developed. When she finally did get tested she was diagnosed with ALS. Since the diagnoses, my wife has been going to stay with her parents whenever she gets a chance. We could not have asked for a better job to have during a crisis like this one. Houseparents get one week off for every three weeks on. So Paula has been able to spend more time with her mother than she has ever been able to in the 26 years we’ve been married. Not only that, but our boss has been most kind in allowing her to be gone when Paula really needed to be with her family. This home looks out for it’s staff just like they look out for the children.
We, of course, don’t know what the new year will bring. In spite of my mother-in-laws condition, I think the year is ending pretty well. My wife will continue spending time with her family and I think we are in a much better place to deal with the emotional trauma that such a disease will bring. Overall, I think things are better than they have been in a long long time.