Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
It was 34 years ago yesterday that I walked down the aisle at First Lutheran Church in DeKalb, Illinois. Four years earlier, I waited at the end of that same aisle for my beautiful young bride to join me. Hand in hand, we exchanged marriage vows. She was 20. I was 23. It is safe to say that we had no idea what we were signing on for. Present at our wedding on that July day in 1982, were three of my grandparents. None of them would survive to see me kneel at the altar rail just four years later.
It was 34 years ago yesterday that I walked down the aisle at First Lutheran Church in DeKalb, Illinois. Walking with me was Pastor Tom Hanson, who had married us, my internship supervisor Pastor Wayne Erickson, and Pastor Sven Thompson, who had envisioned this day in Confirmation Class when I was 13 years old. My parents and siblings were there, so were my aunts and uncles, cousins, childhood friends, and a few dear Luther Seminary Classmates.
It was 34 years ago that I walked down the aisle at First Lutheran Church in DeKalb, Illinois. My partner in life was still with me four years after that wedding. Our time at Luther Seminary had been rich and rewarding; on internship we had fallen in love with the Pacific Northwest. The Assistant to the Bishop in the Illinois Synod presided over the ordination. The prayers were for me; the calling, it was stressed, was a lifetime calling. The pastors laid hands on my back and head. Twice in four years I had been in the exact same place taking vows for life. Both times Felicia was there with me. The first time she was the lovely center of attention. The second time she was hardly recognized.
It was 34 years ago that Felicia and I began this lifetime calling to parish ministry at First Lutheran Church in DeKalb, Illinois. The prayers that day were for me, but this was to be a shared calling, and we had no idea what we were signing on for. In the 34 years that followed, Felicia has given birth to three baby girls, and then helped those girls to birth three boys. She taught Sunday School for 20 years and served as our Sunday School Superintendent for four years. She was a confirmation teacher and mentor. She taught at the Trinity Preschool for 13 years and for the past eight years has been the director. She fielded calls in the middle of the night, parented alone during the 15 years that I served Luther Seminary, and she pacified a drunk who showed up at our house when I was at a Church Council meeting. The first computer in our church office was hers, she cleaned the church for two years. She graciously welcomed visiting theologians in our home, was the hostess at countless dinners, and sent thousands of cards to the sick and grief-stricken.
It was 34 years ago yesterday that I was ordained; they probably ordained the wrong person, certainly the better person was the one sitting on the sideline. Come to think of it, she likes the sideline more than the limelight, and I am probably going to be in trouble for writing this. So, I will just say thank you, Felicia, for your faithfulness, and sign off for now.
One day closer.
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