From my children…throughout the years…paraphrased.
He rarely leaves his work at work. He brings the sorrows of his congregation home with him. When members deal with death or disease or betrayal or unbelief. He grieves. Sometimes it’s in isolation. Sometimes it’s with all of us together. Sometimes it’s painful to watch. It makes them grieve too. It’s okay. Inasmuch as anything having to do with death and destruction can be okay, because he brings the joys home too. They get super excited at the news of a newborn baby within their church family and their dad brings home the most awesome brownies from his home visits. He gets to baptize them and confirm them and perform the ceremony at their weddings. That’s good stuff. They get a front row seat to watching him grow in his faith. That’s good stuff too.
He is dedicated to his congregation. He loves his people dearly. That love is contagious.
His schedule is beyond crazy and often times filled with the unexpected. It is seldom the same from one day to the next. He is gone many evenings and mom leads nightly devotions more often than they would like. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Sometimes they miss him. Many times he misses them. His schedule also allows him great flexibility. He can go to school for lunch and take the baby to get her shots. He can stay home when they’re sick and change his days off to match theirs.
He’s cool and everyone knows him. (A direct quote from my ten year old) This means though that he can’t have a bad day. He can’t lose his cool with the checker at the supermarket. He can’t forget an appointment. He can’t get frustrated with those he serves. He can’t, but sometimes he does. His bad days are very public. That too can be painful to watch.
He sometimes struggles to make friends. That is simply to say close friendships within the congregation can be a little tricky. When it does happen, it’s like striking gold.
He walks the walk. It’s not a perfect walk. In fact, they would be the first to admit that. They see his imperfections and shortcomings. But he leads them the best way he knows how, and most days, it’s pretty terrific. He sings with them and reads them God’s word and teaches them to pray and shows them how to ask for forgiveness.
Before he was pastor to many, he was father to few. And, while they don’t at all mind sharing him…most of the time, they want to know that you know, he was theirs first.