This morning I really thought about things from my wife's perspective, in fact from everyone else's perfpective and I thought, "How selfish have I become." I have given little thought to how the other person feels toward me. I have only thought how they must affect ME. I never thought about the woman who graduated from William Penn and I was not there to congratulate her. I never thought about the kids in the band and how they must feel doing a benefit for someone most of them have never met. I never thought about my kids, how they must have felt the first few days watching me in a hospital bed not knowing what would happen to me. Most of all, I never thought of how my wife feels. She has had to do all of the driving, all of the ice-scraping, all of the bill paying, all the running to the bank, all the running to the store, all the picking up the kids from their activities. I could say, "Yeah, but she did not have a stroke." The question comes when I ask myself the question, "Would I do the same for her?" I think, in fact I know, the answer, "Yes." Is it because I feel obligated? No. It is because I love her and want her to be as at ease as possible. So, does she baby me a little? Yes. Only because she does not EVER want anything like this to happen to me again. So, for the rest of the time, I will keep my mouth shut and only do what I am allowed. IF I do more that I should, I NEED to get fussed at. I need to understand that what happened to me did not only affect me; it has affected everyone that comes in contact with me and my situation. I need to understand that the people that have been most effected by what happened to me are the ones who love me the most. If they look at me differently, then so be it. The responsibility really falls on me. It is about time I stop expecting everyone else to change their response to me. They did not have the stroke; I did. It is my responsibility then to change my response to them as well. It is time, as John McCarthur would say, for me to be gentle in my respnse to every person. They don't know what it is like to have a stroke, but it is WRONG for me to expect them to know what it is like. The things I cannot control, I won't try to; the things I can control I will and nothing more.
A few years ago I was presented with the opportunity to come back to Stratford, Iowa, to First Baptist church, as their pastor; for those of you who have followed this blog for some time, FBC in Stratford was my first pastorate. Let's just say I prayed about it as I was jumping at the opportunity. The church has a parsonage, so I could live there and not have to worry about a houe payment; and I needed to slow down, and this was a part time position (which, as a side note, allowed for me to get a greater disability from the VA than when I was working full time with St. Croix Hospice...) We love Stratford, and absolutely love the church; the people are wonderful and accepted us, again, with open arms. This was, for me, the perfect position: I get to pastor a church I LOVE, I get to do life with people I LOVE, and I have already had the opportunity to do weddings and baptism services for kids (adults now) that I have known their entire lives. IT IS GREAT. The longer I have been here,