My Mom has this saying, "Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated."
When Mom first began to use this phrase on us kids last year, it was a not-so-subtle hint that she felt her 30 & 40 something year old children were not worshipping her as the mother goddess she is (my words, not hers). Typically, she would tell us she loves the people where she volunteers because THEY celebrate her, not tolerate her. As a 30-something year old brat, it was 'Whatever, Mom'.
After our associate pastor, Chip Olin, passed away last year, things really started to change at J's job in Tulsa. I watched as my husband continued to spend precious time away from home to give his very best to the church where he and his family had worshipped for almost 25 years, the place where my husband had poured his heart and soul into for the past 8 years while on staff, the place where my husband worked his tail off to bring his area up to a standard of progressive excellence.
For a year, I told J the church was dying. I said, "Look around. The numbers are dwindling. Get out before they tell the staff they can't make payroll." I told him, "Get out before they start laying off staff. It's coming. Get out first." But he loved that place. He wanted to see it turn around and grow and flourish again. J wouldn't leave.
In January, J was laid off. We both knew there was nothing in Tulsa for him. J was courted by several great places, church and non-church. On our interview weekend, we both fell in love with Chicago. I didn't really want J to work for another church, so part of me was wanting one of the other options in other states. We fell in love with the vision Jaxn has for the people of PCC. We found real people who were willing to live the truth before God and before people.
My mother says, "Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated." J is celebrated here. He is appreciated. He is accepted as he is and for who he is and for the talents he brings to the table. Instead of Jason spending energy worrying the senior pastor is pissed at Jason for his hair being too long past his collar, or too short, as in the case of a trendy faux hawk last year, J can focus his energy on making his work the best it can be.
Every week, in one of their meetings, people go around the table telling one person in particular what they like about him/her. When it was J's turn for affirmation, several people commented on how nice J was during high pressure times when he could have been mean. It's funny, because in Oklahoma, J was told he was too harsh. Maybe that's a Chicago thing. Maybe that's a northerner thing. Whatever it is, it is refreshing to know, as a wife, that my husband is not taking time from our family to cast his pearls before swine.
I am honestly, whole-heartedly, most sincerely glad P.Bob and Dr. Stew fired J - and so is J. J would never have left that place. We may never have known the freedom and joy to worship our Savior as freely and openly as we feel right now. Most of all, J might still be working in a place where he was tolerated and not celebrated.