Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living.
It was a cowboy’s life, a life for someone who wanted no boss.
What I didn’t realize was that it was also a ministry.
Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a moving confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and told me about their lives. I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, and made me laugh and weep.
But none touched me more than a woman I picked up late one August night.
Read the rest. As I process all that I have experienced in the past year, I try not to overreact and overcorrect so that I reject the good with the bad. What did I experience in the Church that was actually good, and should not be tossed out with that which was exploitative and manipulative?
A co-worker asked me if there was anything that I missed about pastoring. And I said "Hell, no!" and then modified the statement. I missed being important in the lives of hurting people. I remember once, about two hours before Sunday morning worship, getting a call at the parsonage from a community resident that I didn't know about her suicidal child. I remember sitting with people mourning their lost spouses. I remember being present while several people died. I remember being present in the midst of suffering and helping people heal.
That was good work. And as I've written before, it is a universally needed work. It was certainly more important than what I'm doing now.
Still, I'm taking care of myself and my family, and getting paid for it rather well. And I don't lie awake at night in terror at whatever salacious lie some "saint" at the church is going to say about me, nor wonder what dumbass thing my DS is about to do next. Nor does my wife have to put on a fake smile and perform to the demands of others at my workplace.
It is a return to sanity and normalcy, and I had forgotten what those things were. Reflecting on the past year, it's amazing what I had allowed to become normalized in my life -- the lies, the manipulation, and the fear that never fully unknotted in my stomach. And even though I'm not helping the hurting anymore, I wouldn't trade it for that hellish existence for a minute. I'm still hurting badly from what happened to me in the past, but I like where I am now.
So I guess that someone else will have to drive the taxi from here on out.