March 4th, 2011


On pain

Slowly, oh so slowly, the pain is going away. I think the last time I had this much gut-wrenching was a few years ago -- once again, down here in Nashville. It comes, I suppose, of heading off for 2-3 days of meetings (with all the irregular habits attendant thereto) while already in a state of exhaustion.

I was just thinking of pain the other day, though not in connection with this. I was thinking of someone else, someone going through a terrible time in his life. What I was thinking of saying to him was that when you experience pain -- real pain, not just soreness or a headache, but white-hot, can't-get-away-from-it-anyway-you-move, scalding agony -- then time slows down. All times are NOW; to your distorted experience, it is difficult to believe that there ever was a time when you were not writhing in agony. It is also difficult to believe there there will ever come a time when you are not experiencing this. It makes you crazy, not to mention susceptible to all kinds of suggestions, some of which are best left uncontemplated. Then, when you don't hurt any more, you find it hard to believe that you ever felt what you felt when you were hurting.

And here's the thing: emotional pain is just as real as physical pain. A person with a tortured soul experiences the same distortion of time and is tempted to do the same kind of crazy things. I can see this in this person's life now, as I have seen it in others' lives, including my own.

Ministry to tortured souls is not having all the answers. Going with them through the fire -- just being there -- gives them an anchor for their sanity. By giving them a reference point other than their pain, it gives them the opportunity to continue to think and act in rational ways, rather than just reacting to the torture. We all need friends from time to time who will sit up with us, so to speak, and wait out the long hours -- not dismiss us, or give us self-help books, or tell us in frustration what the problem with us is.

Until the pain goes away. Hopefully, for good.

And the beat goes on

It's a new day, and the meetings are in full swing. These NACP guys love to talk. My guts are in reasonable order today, but I intend to drink lots of water and watch out for too much stuffing of myself. I thank everyone for their prayers.

As far as NAUMS goes, things are going pretty well. The UMM Foundation icnreased their grant from $5,000 to $7,500 for Bibles this year, so that's another thousand NTs for Philmont and Northern Tier. Our NAUMS meetings may not be well-attended, but it looks like we're getting some good cooperation from the staff at GCUMM, so that's all good. There are a lot of changes coming up in The UMC, and all of us engaged in Scouting Ministry need to be thinking ahead and working together.

Somewhere, sometime, in all these goings-on, I've got to get Sunday's sermon written. I guess I can sit in the back this afternoon and crank it out.

Almost dinner time

I'm praying for Deanne and the Venturers, who are finishing up preparing tomorrow night's District Dinner right now. Love ya. Believe in ya.

I just got my sermon for Sunday done. Getting ready to go for dinner at the local seafood restaurant up the street.

We may have only 3 or so for our brainstorming session tonight, but we will still gather and talk.
compass rose

NAUMS Board pre-meeting

Well, our brainstorming/dreaming session went well tonight. There were four NAUMS directors there and two guests. We talked over the range of issues. No decisions, no commitments were made, but I hope we understand each other a bit better and are going to find some productive ways forward tomorrow and in the days ahead.