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The walls were closing in

Soon, one day rolled into another, and it was Friday of my first week back. I was on the phone with a denominational executive, listening to him explain why the denomination was saying “no” to a request our church had made just before I left for my month-long sabbatical.

As he explained his position, I could feel an anger rising in me that I was not familiar with. I wasn’t angry at him nor did I unleash it on him. I did slam the phone down and knew that the anger was so deep and so unfamiliar that something within me was not right.

I immediately went home and shared the experience with Colleen and told her I was going to the gym to work out my frustration. Maybe a physical treadmill could get me back on track from whatever was stirring inside me.

On Saturday, I was at the office putting my message together for my first Sunday back. Twice during the day, I experienced uncontrollable emotional breakdowns. Literally for no reason, I just began to cry and couldn’t stop for a while. I’d finally pull myself together, get little work done and then it would start again. I didn’t know what was happening. I thought I was really losing my mind.

Somewhere in the early evening, my wife called to say dinner was ready. When I arrived home, the house was quiet and the cnadles on the table were lit. It was just Colleen and the boys for dinner. Her sister and her kids had gone somewhere else for the evening. It had been quite some time since it was just the four of us.

As we were all enjoying the dinner adn the time, I couldn’t hold back some emotion. I tried really hard. I could keep from sobbing, but I couldn’t keep from losing some tears down my cheeks.

My wife looked at me and asked if it was something she said. I said no. She persisted, asking if I was alright. I could only say that I wasn’t sure, didn’t know what to say, and was enjoying the quiet evening meal.

In the next few moments, as I looked around the table, I began to realize that none of these people calls me “Pastor”. They call me, “Honey”, “Babe”, and “Dad”, or “Daddy”, but none of them call me “Pastor”.

They don’t even care to; not out of any disrespect for the office of Pastor, but just because that’s not who I am to them. They’re fine with the fact that I am a Pastor, and my kids joke to this day about enjoying being the “boss’s” kids. But the them, I am who I am, I am not what I do.

As I began to realize this, I felt the Lord was whispering a “Me neither. I don’t call you ‘Pastor’ either. You’re my son, and I love you just for who you are.”

Sunday seemed to go fine, though I borrowed most of the message because I knew I had nothing in me. A Council meeting right after church seemed to go well, and the report of the month I was gone indicated the church had done just fine in my absence.

Then came what I call …

© 2008 Paul D. Kuzma