Monday, May 2, 2011

God Provides, Part 1

My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I've been meaning to write for a long time, but I have just been stuck. Not stuck in my program, thank God. I am doing well, still maintaining my abstinence by the grace of God, one day at a time. But with work and seminary and home/family stuff and training for the 5K and all that, these days it seems like the only thing I can do is sit here and stare. The idea of being productive and creative... Writing a song or even blogging... Kind of unthinkable. It's funny, even AT THIS MOMENT, I am so tempted to just stop writing and "come back to it later." But I think I want to keep going. I have (what I hope will be) an encouraging story to tell.

So I've been swamped. And discouraged. Work has been tough the last few weeks. Easter was wonderful in a lot of ways - Holy Week, really; it's Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday (along with rehearsals on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday) - but along with the high of a great week comes the inevitable let-down of The Monday After. And then, on Tuesday, a one-two punch of criticism in the form of a very ugly email and then an ambush in a church board meeting. I'm fine if people disagree with me about the direction of the church and the worship music in particular. Of course we're going to disagree, but it hurts a lot when my character and motives are maligned. When a great prelude with guitar, sax, trumpet, trombone, drum, piano and bass solos somehow turns me into a Vegas showman "tossing my hotel room key to the girls in the front row." (I'm not making this stuff up.)

I should also say that I got tons of positive affirmation. Emails and cards even. From young people and older people. Easter was a successful day. 1500+ people in attendance, great vibe, great music and sermon... My sponsor was even there! (What a gift!) So I had lots of reasons to be grateful. And I was. But still, those negative things really wiped me out.

Wednesday rolled around, as it always does. And it's always a very long day. So by the time 8:30pm rolled around, I was ready to grab the kids and head home from church. As I backed out of my parking spot, the engine died. And it wouldn't start up again. I was just *done.* I had all four of my kids plus one of their friends in the back of the van, my wife was in a staff meeting for her new (second) job, and I was feeling pretty hopeless. I slammed my hands on the steering wheel and yelled out, "No! God, you can't let this happen right now! Please! Let this van start!" Alas, it was not to be. I soon realized that there was something seriously wrong, and I would not be driving the van home that night. I texted my good friend and fellow blogger, G. Rabanon (@RecoveringinOA), asking for prayers and support, then I looked under the hood to see what I could do. I began to realize how perfect it was that I was at church. Fellow staff members were coming out to their cars. One took my kids home, one went to get some oil. Eventually we gave up and Mrs. Charlie came and took me home.

That night I got home and posted to Facebook (because I am a hopelessly extroverted person and I *always* post things to Facebook), "Tulsa friends: Any recommendations for a good, affordable mechanic would be greatly appreciated. Our van died tonight, and I will need to get it towed tomorrow. Can't believe this! Only ONE MORE car payment left and it dies."

My wife came in the kitchen a little while later and said, "Charlie, please don't go making a big deal about the last car payment thing. We'll deal with this. I know it sucks, but we don't wanna be acting like victims here." So funny. She is such a private person, and I am so OUT THERE all the time. We're good for each other in that way. Needless to say I didn't tell her what I had posted to Facebook; I just quietly deleted it.

(To be continued...)

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