Everything’s funner when you’re here
I realize the above title is not grammatically correct. I don’t care. It is historically correct, and that is what matters to me. Allow me to explain ...
Being a pastor, there are few times of the year that are conducive to getting away on vacation.
One time that my family and I have found conducive to that end is the few days right after Christmas. In general there is very little going on that demands our attention. Perhaps it is the fact that everyone is still stuffed with turkey and exhausted from shopping, caroling, wrapping, unwrapping, and the like, but whatever the reason, we are usually able to get away for a few days with relative ease.
And so it was that this year, Christmas night, my family and I drove toward the sand and salt of Myrtle Beach. We arrived very late, settled in for the night, and slept a peaceful sleep. This was to be a mini-vacation, not a full one, since we did have some pressing things to attend to on Monday. But a half week of vacation is still a very nice half week!
The next day was uneventful, and very nice. But early on Friday morning my phone rang, and everything changed. A member of my church had been airlifted to Asheville with a Hemorrhagic stroke, and they did not know if he would live. Within 15 minutes I had a few things packed up and was hugging my wife and kids goodbye.
They would stay there with Dana’s parents while I drove back. The adults were fine, they understand that this is the nature of the ministry. My kids are very good and giving and generous kids, but they are still kids, and were very upset to see me go. Driving away from crying kids is not an easy thing...
Six hours later I arrived in Asheville.
The news was not great, but it certainly was good. My member was able to recognize me on sight, and could follow simple commands. He was stabilizing quickly, and whereas the nurse on the phone six hours earlier had said “get here as fast as you can,” they were now using words like “therapy” and “rehabilitation.”
I stayed for a couple of hours, and when informed that this would be a very long process, weeks, very likely, I got back in the card and headed back to be with my family. I arranged for church members to be visiting with him for the next two days, and near midnight I was back at the hotel.
I knew the kids were happy, but I did not know how much so till the next evening. After supper I took the kids down to the pool for a while. I military pressed them over my heads one by one and threw them out into the water. I swam with the girls and wrestled with my son. And it was then that my youngest swam up to me, hugged my tightly and said “Everything’s funner when you’re here.”
I’m glad that it’s ok for a man to cry.
The ministry is a stressful life, but my wife and I have spent the last fourteen plus years of it, since the day we brought my son home, making sure that our kids don’t just have “a pastor and pastor’s wife,” but an honest to goodness mom and dad. I have seen far too many pastors lose everything by tending to the ministry while neglecting their families.
I suppose that this column really applies to everyone, of every profession. Life is busy, and most everyone has more things to do than they do hours in the day. But when a person is one day old and senile, I am pretty sure that the one thing he or she will never forget is the day that a child hugged them tight and said “Everything’s funner when you’re here.”
Dr. Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, and the author of several books. His books are available at www.wordofhismouth.com