I was born in Peoria Ill a long long time ago. Transplanted myself to Indiana in the late 70's. Married with two kids and three grandkids. I've been in Ministry since 1975. I started as a Salvation Army Officer and for the last 25 years have been a United Methodist Pastor in North Indiana. One of my unrealized dreams is to write a book of devotions. This blog is the start of that dream. These devotions are first draft, I anticipate rewriting them at least three more times before I'm happy with them. I share them now because I think writing should be a dialogue - I hate writing in a vacuum.

Monday, June 13, 2005

About Jim

Let me see if I can tell you about Jim. He was born to this earth one day, an ordinary day, an uneventful day. He grew up in a little town in a modest house.

And one day he became a man. They made men younger back then so he was only a teenager really. But for the next 40 to 50 years he got up every morning, drank a cup of coffee and set out to work. He worked 6 and 7 days a week. He worked long hours. It wasn't an important or fun job. It was a job. Holidays were few and far between and vacations were rare.

And then, one day he retired. He would get up every morning, drink a cup of coffee, and go outside and sit on a bench. In Spring he would pull weeds. In Summer he swept the driveway. In the Fall he raked leaves. Winters he would sit inside and fret about the weather.

I remember that Jim liked to watch the Cubs and White Sox and the news on WGN. Sometimes I'd come in and see him sitting, watching TV with his hat pushed way back on his head. He had a way of absent mindedly rubbing his head with his fingers almost as if he were looking for hair long gone.

You wouldn't have called him rich, famous, or powerful; he was none of those. The honest truth of the matter is Jim never did much more than work his entire adult life. And, you couldn't call him a religious man either. He wasn't religious. Oh, if you dragged him off to church he'd go. But he wasn't into religion. Now and then he'd confide to you that he, "talked to the man upstairs." But that was about him and God, not religion. When Jim died I was sure he went to live with the, "man upstairs."

Truth be told Jim was a rather ordinary man who lived an ordinary, indeed, mundane life. Now, ordinary and mundane, are just so by definition - because it is the lot of us all. Except for some tiny fraction of those who have ever lived, we all are placed here to live our lives like Jim did his. We won't be world leaders or world saviors; and near as I can tell hardly anybody gets called to do those jobs anyway. No, our lot in life is about exactly what Jim's lot in life was; to be born, live, work and then die.

Well now, we could end it right here couldn't we? That's just about the end of the story! Except I left one little detail out of the story. Did it on purpose. Did it because it's the key to everything. Did it because it's the main thing. did it because it redeems Jim's life and hopefully yours. Did it to get your attention!

See, one day, when he was a young man, Jim met Hazel. Fell in love with her. Married her. He was loyal to her until her dying day and then some. When she grew old and diabetes pretty much took her eyesight, she'd wake up in the night and be confused and think that it was morning. So she'd go out to the kitchen and start cooking breakfast. Only she couldn't see. Jim worried that she would burn herself. So those last weeks and months he took to sleeping on the floor, in the kitchen, in front of the stove. Let's hear it for ordinary and mundane.

That might have been enough but there's more. Jim and Hazel had a son. He got married and had a son and daughter. They all lived under Jim's roof and absorbed his quiet strength. The the son and daughter got married and had sons and daughters who are growing up, getting married and having children. And they all have something of Jim tucked within them.

So that's not the end of Jim's story. It may never be finished. Oh I'm sure there were times when Jim wondered what life was all about and why he was living such an uneventful and ordinary life. To that I can only say, you and I are writing that chapter.

Points to Ponder:

1. What defines a life worth living?
2. What is the difference between God and religion?
3. How does the ordinary man or woman change the world?

©2005 Richard L. Pettys, all rights reserved