Sunday, November 03, 2013


Two and a half years ago, Craigslist and an ever-expanding job search brought me inside a minimally developed Norfolk warehouse. I’d answered an ad posted by a guy we’ll call Pastor Tim, because I think that was his name.

Pastor Tim had a vision transform the warehouse into an arts center.  His feeling was that the church should be a strong supporter of arts and artists, a value I have long held but never truly seen in action.  Oh, sure, I have seen some wonderful drama programs, and have been invited to sundry crafting events or ladies scrapbooking circles over the years, but nothing really stunning in the visual arts department.

So I was thrilled by Pastor Tim’s vision of an art gallery and studio classes, and even his less-than-fleshed out thoughts about music and coffee houses.  I am not musical, but The Minister is a musician.  I knew he’d be eager to come on board.  It seemed so exciting, so urban, so full of possibilities.  Plus, the Minister would be leaving for school in a year’s time and it seemed a great way to spend some special time doing important work together before he was gone. Pastor Tim wanted to talk to another candidate.  I had a couple of pending issues myself.  We agreed to talk later in the week, although we both expressed excitement about our potentially shared vision. I left the warehouse thinking of all the amazing ways this ground-floor upstart could really work.

I never saw Pastor Tim again.  Having walked past the warehouse as recently as August and found it as empty as that summer morning in 2011, I can only assume things never got off the ground, at least in the way Pastor Tim expected.

And me?  I was to find out the following morning if I’d made the cut as a finalist for an on-the-air internship at a TV station.  I’d received an email the previous evening stating that at least one producer was interested in me and that I should send along some additional pictures and info for the production team to reference during the final, painstaking deliberations.  I picture an American Idol-like scene with the pictures all strewn across the table and the judges arguing the merits of their Top Picks. It probably wasn’t that exciting, but let me dream; it’s as close as I ever got to that particular action.

So the morning after the Pastor Tim meeting, I kept my cellphone close at hand.  Although the finalists were to be announced live on TV, I had an early morning errand to run.  My friend Cat was going to text me when it was all over.  My phone buzzed.

“Didn’t make cut.”

I was strangely calm.  The email from the producer had been a shock; I didn’t think I had been in the running, so it was one of those rare situations where it was truly an honor to be nominated.

 I had another interview later in the day, for a job I didn’t want.  I got in the shower to prepare for the interview, and my hair started coming out in massive, alarming amounts.  I had to go to the interview anyway, and I somehow nailed it, despite not wanting the job, and holding my head still, like an action figure, hoping my hair would stay attached to my skull.

I got into my car and drove out to the middle of nowhere, out to where we own acres of land, on which I was attempting to grow ill-fated pumpkins.  I cried the whole way there, the whole time watering my wilting crop in the near-triple digit heat, and all the way back home.

I cried on and off for the next week, stopping only to pack up the family for a vacation in Florida.  Although I was excited to get away, I was plagued by feelings of desperation until a message popped up on my phone with an unexpected offer for the job I have today teaching at U1.

I would find out weeks later that I had telogen effluvium, a temporary hair disorder that would likely resolve in six months, which it did, but not for almost ten months.  And not before I discovered first hand that the worst part of the disorder isn’t the hair loss but the secondary psychological issues—depression, anxiety, OCD—that somehow tend to accompany this crazy, senseless, ill-understood anomaly.

A thousand things happened—some recorded on this blog, but most not.  The Minister left for school.  The Baker left, too.  (my son and daughter, for those who aren’t regular readers) My Labradors died.  I thought my life was unraveling. I didn’t do a lot of art. 

Fast forward to today. My entire family participated heavily in a community celebration at church—a church we found about a year ago, because The Minister went away to school and learned that a church a quarter mile from our front door needed a music minister.

I didn’t know we had a church a quarter mile from our home, because it used to be a furniture store. It’s now the most wonderful, loving, open community you can imagine.  Today, as The Minister—my son!—led worship, I looked around and saw people of every skin tone, young, old, hipsters, vegans, ex-cons, doctors, scientists—some in shorts, some in suits, some pierced, others tattooed, singing as one.

The Baker was, well, in the kitchen, setting up a potluck as varied as the congregation itself.  As far as me….I held a little informational meeting about our arts ministry and the gallery show we’re planning for January.  It just so happens that our senior minister—we’ll call him Pastor Tom, because that’s his name has a huge vision for integrating art in the church as asked me, a couple months ago to head it all up.

So that vision I had with Pastor Tim in the Norfolk warehouse in 2011 has now been realized in a Hampton furniture store with Pastor Tom.  I don’t know why now is better than then, or here is better than there.  And I don’t know what happened to Pastor Tim, but I suspect that his vision came to life, too, in some other circuitous route.  Life has a funny way of working out just the way it’s supposed to.  And I’m grateful for that.

Note: I am attempting to post every day in November.  I'll have a better chance if you cheer me on :)


Joanne Tanner said...

More cheer!

Tom Morris said...

I enjoy your blog, and am rooting for the community church, the Minister, and Pastor Tom.

Lisa said...

Keep going. I love reading your writing and I love living all this with you, friend!

Anonymous said...

His timing is always better : )


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