Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Time "Marches" On

Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day, and I hope each of you had a good one. Perhaps you even got to chase a snake! :) It occurred to me sometime during the day how insignificant that "holiday" is to me personally. I'm not into green beer, or leprechauns or potatoes. I am part Irish, but that just isn't enough to get me excited about the day. From there my thoughts drifted even further. If St. Patty's Day is the best March has to offer, then March is a pretty lame month. It's not like October. October is full of family birthdays. great memories, and horrible break-ups from my college years- not just mine, but all my friends too! October is cool. In my mind March just feet very blah. And for a moment that seemed true. But then I started thinking. It comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb - no other month has that! March has March Madness, and that's a big deal. Spring Training is in March, and that means baseball is back! And I do love baseball. March often has Spring Break, and I always loved Spring Break as a student, a youth worker and as a parent. A few years ago March became the month we "spring forward" into Daylight Savings Time. March occasionally is home to Easter and always home to at least a portion of Lent. It was easy to see that my initial thought had been erroneous. March is not so lame after all.

And then my mind proceeded to go even deeper into the rabbit hole. It must be that March just had very little to do with my life. My family has no March birthdays, and Marilyn and I celebrate our anniversary in August. What could possibly have happened in March. It turns out that was a questions with far too many answers. It didn't take long to determine that March has indeed been a significant month over the course of my lifetime. Witness the following examples:

  • My best friend for the vast majority of my life, Steve Semmler, was born on March 27. Many, many years ago. And then last March he and his brother Carl came to see us in Tampa and we took in a couple of NCAA tournament games in Orlando. Good times!
  • In March of 1980 I attended a Creative Models of Youth Ministry Workshop in Charlotte with J. David Stone, which led directly to me both hearing and accepting the call from God to go into full-time youth ministry.
  • March of 1994 found me preparing to leave Springfield Friends Meeting for Kissimmee after 8 wonderful years, and we were doing EVERYTHING the kids in the student ministry wanted to do. It was one crazy month before leaving in early April.
  • Six years later in March of 2000 my family relocated to Chicagoland and the Union Church of Hinsdale. Just two weeks later I took my first trip with the youth there and discovered I was a fish out of water. But I hung on for 18 months.
  • The Graceland Student Ministries of Wesley Memorial UMC in Tampa went to New York City in March of 2005- ten years ago this month. As of now, that was my last time taking a group to the Big Apple.
  • March 21, 2007, is the day I was arrested. A day not easily forgotten...
  • March of 2013 was spent preparing for one of the great day son my life, the reunion of the old youth group from my days in Kissimmee. The event was in April, but that March was full of magical moments as things came together.
  • It was also in March of 2013 that Will & Michelle officially began dating. That has been a blessing to us all!
  • Last March we were notified that a date had been set (April 1) to hear the case for early dismissal of my probation. It was both a stressful and hopeful week, punctuated by amazing support from friends all over the country. And it came with a happy ending!
See what I mean? When you really stop and think about it there are high and low moments in our lives during any given period, no matter how much they all seem to run together. Take any month, any year. any decade and even most days and you can look back to discover there were joys, sorrows and struggles. That's life. But the GOOD NEWS is this- during every high, every low and every place in between we are loved by our God, our families and our friends. Looking back at my March list reminds me just how blessed I have been and continue to be. Time does indeed march on. And that's not a bad thing at all...

Because of Jesus,

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