bringin' on the heartbreak

A couple of you know this already, but I almost returned to ministry.

The other day I mentioned that last week was hard and hope-dashing. Let me explain the hope-dashing part.

The day following the infamous Wild Turkey Attack, a dear friend of mine called me out of the blue and asked me how things were going. I told her about delivering the mail, including the Turkey incident, and dropping all my mail off the dock, and four flat tires (we're up to five now, by the way, but the last one wasn't my doing). We hadn't spoken in almost two years so there was a lot to catch up on.

This friend of mine was one of the most gifted youth leaders I ever worked with. She volunteered as mentor to a cell group of senior high students back in Ohio days. She and her husband moved to Pennsylvania and broke my heart.

While I was sharing all my super-interesting mail stories, she gently asked if she could interrupt. She said something like, "This morning in our worship service they announced that our discipleship director and worship leader is leaving to attend seminary in Oregon. They're looking for someone to fill that position and they were reading the position description as we walked in this morning. As they finished reading it Dave and I turned toward each other and at the same time said, "That sounds like Jim." "

So she thought she should call me and let me know. I was intrigued to say the least, though until that moment going back into ministry was not even on my radar screen.

I sent my resume off to her church thinking I probably wouldn't even get a response. Well, I got a response. Then I got an invitation to interview for the position. During that first interview the pastor said, "When we got your resume it kind of went right to the top of the pile."

Following that first interview I enlisted a few people to pray for me about this, some of them read this blog and one of them is on the blogroll.

A week an a half after that first interview, I was invited to a second interview with a larger group. The pastor and the head of the staff/parish committee repeatedly said things that made me think they were leaning heavily in my direction.

A few days after that second interview, just as I was beginning to think I didn't get the job, I got a call saying "we'd like to talk to you again by phone and ask a few more questions." During that third interview the pastor in particular seemed very enthusiastic about the things I was saying. That was a week and a half ago, last Tuesday.

Then came last Friday. I had a short workday that day and was tired all the way through from a hellish week of work (that only got worse on Saturday). I had just woken up from a nap when the phone rang. I knew it was them and somehow I also knew what they were going to say. I let the machine get it. The head of their staff/parish committee left a message with his phone number.

I called him right back, but got his voicemail. He called back maybe fifteen minutes later.

"We've moved in another direction." Standard church/corporate-speak for "you didn't get the job."

I wasn't really surprised... I've been on a couple of church search committees and, well, you never can tell. Not surprised, but certainly disappointed. You know, I had allowed myself to start hoping. I'm not sure why, I guess I can't help it.

Looks like I'll be a mailman for the foreseeable future.

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