Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Out of the Hallway

I'm currently functioning in half brain, full exhaustion, semi-lucid, major wiped-out mode, but I'm still going to give the writing of this post a whirl and see what comes of it.

Maybe you're tempted to ask, "Well, what in the world could be so tiring about spending the weekend in a luxury hotel in a village by the sea?"

Well, nothing, if you put it like that! (smile)

However, when you look at the big picture that stretches beyond the aforementioned idyllic seashore tableau, you'll probably find a few good reasons behind the fact that we are so wiped out. (And Steve is still in bed sick today, after a trip to the doctor.)

First of all, the entire weekend was bookended with the inescapable reality that those few hours spent in Manteo would have an indelible impact on our ministry, our jobs, our home town, our friends, our childrens' friends, Sarah's schooling, our ministerial colleagues, our finances, our neighborhood, and our long term life as a family.

On Friday night at 6 pm, when it was time for the three of us to walk into the church fellowship hall to meet the forty leaders and spouses waiting for us, I was so nervous I was seriously almost sick to my stomach. There's no feeling quite like stepping through a door and in a split second, being the instant object of curious examination by a whole group of people who could very possibly become your parishioners and friends.

Nervous energy, adrenalin and anxiety are definitely forces to be reckoned with and if you've ever dealt with any (or all) of those, you know that when they finally dissipate, they can leave you exhausted. The fact that we were "under the influence" of high doses of those three substances all weekend is a pretty good explanation for the way we're feeling today.

But the good news is that when we did walk into that fellowship room on Friday, we were welcomed with genuinely warm, fun, affirming, gracious Manteo folks. They greeted us like we were long lost relatives and made us feel like we belonged.

Although there had been some plans for the youth group to go bowling, the plans had to be changed so Sarah was with us for that evening meal. She enjoyed meeting everyone as well and I was very proud of her for so charmingly holding her own with forty adults she didn't know. That girl is a trouper!

Saturday morning, Steve and I were at the church at 9 am to meet with the drummer and sound man and were joined by the singers a couple hours later.

Now I must say that this appointment was another source of anxiety for Steve and me. After having done music together for 28 years in all sorts of settings, we have learned the unfortunate truth that sometimes gifted musicians can be hard to work with, and can also struggle with various levels of cockiness. We were walking into this rehearsal cold, not knowing what the musicians' attitudes would be like and not even knowing if the singers could sing or if the drummer could truly "drum."

But happy, happy day! When everyone had gathered, we were presented with a group of folks who were fun , teachable, happy and gifted!

It was almost 1 pm by the time we finished rehearsal; we took lunch back to the hotel (Sarah had stayed there all morning to catch up on school work) and then got down to the "business" of resting up for the church picnic at 4 pm. We had the chance to meet some of the rest of the church people that night and learn a few more names. There was actually shrimp served at this picnic and also plenty of chocolate on the dessert table, so we were happy campers!

Sunday morning, we were back at the church at 8:30 to rehearse a little more with the team and then do the 10:30 service. I have played keyboard and sung on many hundreds of platforms in my life, but only twice have I ever stood on a stage in the role of potential pastor's wife. It's a very different (and scary) sort of feeling!

Here's Sarah being introduced.

The music with the team went great and Steve did an excellent job preaching. We met a few more folks, grabbed lunch and then headed back to the hotel to rest up and gear up for the evening service and The Vote.

That evening, after we had sung and Steve had preached, the three of us took ourselves off to the fellowship hall in the opposite end of the building to sit and commence waiting. And that is where the picture was taken that I posted last night!

Here it is again in a closer view.

I got three great guesses about the picture but one of them (by Susan B) hit the nail on the head. Steve's middle name is Kever and that's the name in the picture.

His middle name is a combination of his mom's name (Vernie) and his dad's name (Ken) and we had never seen it any other place in our whole lives. And then, sitting there waiting for the voting to be done Sarah said, "Hey, look! That basketball goal has 'Kever' written on it!"

I must say that it was a great stress reducer to laugh about that and take the inevitable photo of Steve posing with his "namesake."

And then it was just a few minutes after that when we heard the door to the fellowship room open and the Chairman of the Board say something like, "Come on, Pastor Steve. Time to say hello to your congregation!"

We walked down the hall and stepped into the lobby where the whole congregation was smiling and applauding. After many sweet hugs and enthusiastic congratulations from our new family, we headed out to the van to contact our "old" family.

The first phone call was to Nathan, who we had texted while we were sitting and waiting for the vote results. He was so sweet and affirming and happy for us. I really missed having him there with us.

Then Steve called his parents (who were thrilled) and I called my mom. She said, "Well, I'm so glad you called. I was just sitting here, literally, this very moment, and praying for you." She was so thankful for the news.

The call to her was bittersweet for me, because my dad has always been our biggest cheerleader through all of our years of ministry. To not be able to say, "Dad, Steve was just voted in as pastor in Manteo," just hit me so hard in the heart. As soon as I hung up with Mom, I was in tears, wishing for the chance to hear my dad's voice as well.

I somehow have to believe, though, that he knows that "his kids" are back in full time ministry and that somewhere in heaven he's joining my mom as she rejoices for us.

There are more questions to answer and more stories to tell, but I'll sign off for now by saying thanks again for your support and prayers during these ten months that we've waited in the hallway, waiting for the next place God had for us to be.

It's wonderful to be finally stepping out of the hallway and into the rest of our lives.

16 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

brooke said...

I'm glad y'all felt so incredibly welcomed by the good folks in Manteo, and that you are happy about it. Have I mentioned that I am insanely jealous that you get to live there? Really and truly. These Utah mountains are beautiful and all, but I am a water girl and have always dreamed of living next to the ocean - particularly a warm one that I can swim in in the summer (the Pacific is cold cold cold, even in August - at least off the coast of Oregon it is).

I hope you get some more rest before heading back to Manteo this weekend.

Deb said...

I am SO impressed that you got an update done today with being so tired. I loved seeing the pictures. We are so happy for you all and so proud of you too!

(I just re-read and realized I said "so" so many times, but I so don't feel like re-typing. So I won't. So there. And I hope Steve feels so much better so very soon.)

Love Deb

MaryH said...

All your emotions and exhaustion is completely understandable and reasonable. I hope you all take a few days to rest. What you went through this past weekend, albeit in one of God's most beautiful settings, the seaside, was excrutiatingly taxing and mentally draining. BUT YOU DID IT!!!

Becky, of course your dad knows right where you are and what you all have accomplished - wasn't it soon after he passed away that you were invited to come to Manteo for that first meeting? Who do you think was working on that one for you - your Dad has a lot of time and energy in Heaven, help him use it. I understand the hurt of not being able to share this with him in "person" and hear the happiness in his voice. Now, get your Dad going on the next phase. Request some guidance on finding a place to live that you will love and someone who will love and buy the house you are in now! I am so happy for you. Glad you are out of the hallway!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Smith family!! Hoorah! :)

I also have a question - ever since you started talking about going to Manteo to do a service, I've wondered what Steve would say in his sermon. It seems like such a huge, stressful ordeal, having to come up with words and a message for an 'interview sermon'!

Anonymous said...

Honestly Becky, I'm not religous whatsoever, but I have been reading your blog and Sarah's Caringbridge page for close to 5 years. I must say I never doubted that you and Steve would get this job. Congrats and I'm happy that you are now able to focus on what you love to do as opposed to worrying about where you are going.

Jessie - B-Town, WA

Marysienka said...

In fact, I'd be worried if you guys weren't tired after this weekend! Those 2 days were very busy and stressful! Just seeing the picture that says "welcome rev. Steve & Becky Smith" gave me palpitations! I know this was a very, very important time for you. I'm glad Steve got the position and I'm already looking forward to reading all about your new adventures in Manteo :)

Congrats again!

Karen H., Hammond, IN said...

Congratulations on your new ministry! It sounds like your church family are truly beautiful people.

Shannon said...

Your family has been through SO much not just in the last year, but through Sarah's whole fight. I hope you can make a new home in Manteo and have some "down time" for awhile. You know what I mean!! Take care and God Bless!!!

Shannon said...

Oh geeesh!!!! I forgot to add Congratulations!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Even when you write on half a brain, you do a great job of hitting the emotions. I had myself a nice little cry this afternoon reading your post.

Praying that all the details for your transition fall into place.

Connie F-G

Dianna in Louisiana said...

Woooo HOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! Huge Congratulations to the Smith Clan!!!! Such a wonderful blessing, both for you guys and the good folks of Manteo.

Ann Martin said...

Becky, I, too, shed tears reading this and especially the part about your Dad. I know he is rejoicing in heaven and I hope he meets my Daddy up there. There were so many things alike (birthdays on the same day and death two weeks to the day apart) that I just know they have to meet. Anxiously awaiting pictures of Manteo and the house you will be getting. What happened to the one you found out about just as you were leaving the first trip--one that needed some work? God bless as you rest, relax, and head back to Manteo. Hope Steve is feeling better by tonight. Love to you all!

Lizz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lizz said...

Congratulations Smith family! I am so happy for all of you! WOO HOO!!!

Love, Hugs & Prayers!

Anonymous said...

I am so happy for you guys! Jill

amysahoot said...

The Kever on the B-ball goal was your sign from God saying that is where He would take you to next, or so I think it is. Oh, and you mentioned my "under construction blog" when you e-mailed me I have not started one yet because I don't know where to start a blog at. I am good at writing research papers for school, but I am not so sure about blogs.