Captain Countdown and the Beleaguered Mate
One of my generations better poets wrote this:
The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part
Now I don't normally get my doctrine from Tom Petty songs, but in my life right now, this chorus seems near biblical in it's proclamation of truth. And not only is the waiting the hardest part, but it feels like that's all I'm doing....waiting.
If that sounds a bit like complaining, it's really not. Because while the waiting part is difficult, I recognize that the only reason I'm so focused on it, is because God has answered every prayer on the journey leading up to this point.
I'm no longer focused on boats and boat shopping because God has already answered our prayer and guided us to the right boat. I'm not focused on where to keep the boat, because the boat He provided was already in the perfect location. I'm not focused on all the projects that must be completed on the boat, because the boat He provided is sail-away ready.
I'm not focused on work because God has answered my prayer to supply a capable replacement for my position at the Y. He went above and beyond by providing Tom Sparkman. A man with a skill set similar to my own, who was willing to work as my assistant for months ahead of my departure, so he's had a lot of time to learn both the position and the YMCA culture. I'm positive he will do a wonderful job.
Over the last several weeks, I've handed more and more of my responsibilities over to Tom and watched as the rest of the staff has begun to call on him for those things which have always been my domain. It's one of those things that needs to happen, but is hard for me on some level. I've basically taken over the work that I normally delegate to my assistant, so while I'm not sitting around twiddling my thumbs all day, my focus is not on work in the way it has been in the past...it's more like just waiting.
I'm also not focused on preparing lessons and sermons for the weekly Recovery meetings. There's no songs to choose, Power Points to prepare, or testimonies to arrange. Again, because God has answered our prayer to deliver the right person to fill that spot. I could not be more confident that this ministry is in the right hands with Sam Dunham. He has exactly the right heart and mind to continue this important work, and I'm very thankful that God called him for this.
I'm not focused on leading worship on Sunday mornings, because God has covered that as well. He seems to have replaced us with a husband and wife team, Rich and Ashley White, at the helm, just like Amy and I have been doing for years. We're going to lead worship one more time on the Sunday before we leave as a kind of farewell service, but the weekly aspect of choosing, preparing, practicing and leading songs is finished.
I'm also not focused on finances, because God has blessed this too. As we approach our last few weeks in Monmouth, with our boat purchased, we have almost exactly the amount of money left to start our adventure with that I wrote down on paper almost a year ago. We didn't get here exactly the way I had it written out, but it was pretty close.
So with God answering all our prayers and orchestrating things so perfectly, I am left with nothing much to focus on but the waiting. 25 days, 18 hours, and 30 minutes of waiting to be exact (as I write this on 8/17/20 at 2pm). Yes, I have a countdown app set on my phone. Yes, I check it several times a day. And yes, I know if I wouldn't check it so often, the time wouldn't appear to go by so slowly.
Now Amy, on the other hand, is having a very different experience as we count down our last days here. She is struggling through a difficult time at her job and that is where most of her focus is.
The Chamber of Commerce is a two person office that is currently down to just Amy, who's last day is less than four weeks away. No matter how you slice it, that means when Amy leaves, there will not be anyone in the office who is particularly up to speed with what's going on. It is very important to Amy that she finish well and leave the chamber in good hands, so her stress level is high and her focus is work.
Personally, I would do my best for the remaining few weeks, but would have no problem leaving the chamber in the situation they have created. Amy informed the chamber's board of directors 11 months ago of our plans to leave. It was the same time we told our church and the YMCA. But while the church and the Y were proactive in seeking to replace me/us, the chamber board did nothing to prepare for Amy's leaving. A month ago, when she gave her official, written two months notice, it would have seemed prudent to immediately start the search for her replacement in the hopes that Amy could spend a couple weeks showing the new director the ropes, but with less than four weeks left, they still haven't even advertised the opening. I'm sure there are aspects of the situation I'm unaware of, and maybe they have their reasons for their lack of action, but from where I'm sitting it seems like they've not managed the situation well. I don't work for them, so I can say that.
But that's not Amy. Amy is more loyal than I am, so she will defend and fight and fret and stress until the moment we leave and beyond, to see that the chamber is in the best possible position to weather the transition to a new director. And I will try not to be too disappointed by the fact that she and I are on totally different wavelengths as we head into our journey.
Whatever our mindsets or focus, we recognize our need to prioritize quality time with loved ones. Especially the grandsons who, even now, seem to grow and change before our eyes. How much more when we're apart?
With my daughter and her husband visiting friends out of state, we've had Ezra (4) and Otis (2) at our place for the last few days. They're typical kids, so not every moment is bliss, and I find myself a bit more exhausted at the end of a grandson day than I do on a normal day, but I wouldn't trade the time with them for anything. And as much as I swear that the internet is the worst thing to ever happen to the human race, I know that in a few months I'll be praising God for Marco Polo and Skype.
We're also trying to use the time we have left to continue studying, learning, and researching. There's navigation, weather, diesel repair and maintenance, knots, severe weather tactics, flag etiquette, types of anchors and anchoring techniques, sail and canvas repair, etc, etc, etc. There seems to be no end to the list, and every topic, upon diving in to it, seems to be far deeper than imagined. We've been researching diligently for a year now, and feel like we've only scratched the surface of the knowledge we need.
With all that said, the overwhelming feeling I'm left with is still one of waiting.
Patiently waiting, because I know these last few weeks are important, but waiting none-the-less. For another 25 days, 18 hours, 8 minutes, 21 seconds.
Wait, make that 17 seconds.
No, 14 seconds
Sorry, 11 seconds....
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