The Lutheran Pastor - You all are right, of course, this was not about me. It really was not even about the family. She is no longer even at the church in question as that church and four others were invited to vote on whether they wanted to consolidate or not. Three agreed to consolidate, two did not. She is now one of the pastors at the bigger, consolidated one. The church of the deceased is one of the stubborn ones that will soon disappear due to lack of funds and any members left above the ground.
I am sure she is still hurt and a tad defensive over the whole thing and who can blame her. She also happens to be the exception that proves the rule: everyone has a sense of humor.
The Ride - It went great. I could not believe how strong and good I felt on the bike especially in contrast to last year. Rather than being passed, I was the one passing.
I did struggle a bit at first emotionally because TDH and I would usually ride the first section of those things together. It was the same feeling as I just had when I went to look up the url for last year's post and saw some of the things I wrote about him a year ago. What the hell happened?
The GREAT news is that so far I think I have raised $905 and I wouldn't be suprised if a little bit more came in. I am going to wait until the end of the week to send in the money folks gave me at church today.
Which brings me to...
Church Today - The support was amazing. Before the pastoral prayer I took joys and concerns as usual and then I read the letter and we moved into a time of prayer. You could hear an audible gasp when I hit the line about TDH moving out of our home. I then paused a bit before the spoken prayer trying to give it a little time to sink in.
I had already told Session and a couple of the pillars. I wanted both groups to be ready to throw full support behind my family rather than be in the shock phase with everyone else.
A few of the toughest emotional points were:
* Preaching while watching TOM (not tdh) struggling emotionally through it. The sermon was about how being Christians does not keep us from sinning or being sinned against but rather impacts how we handle it. TOW was in the nursery.
* Reading the letter.
* Being hugged by one of my gruffest, most conservative (meaning we disagree a LOT), most old-school members. In fact he went out of his way to hug me. Later on he asked me about my Dad and at the end of a few sentences I just sighed and said, "I'm so tired." He grabbed me and pulled me to his side and said that I needed someone to lean on and I should lean on the church for awhile.
I mean, wow. Of course when someone like that cares for you like that it also makes you realize just how much crap you're actually in!
You all have been amazing and I promise I really am trying to move away from these 'woe is me' posts, but I thought some of you might be interested in how some of these things ended up.