Friday, August 22, 2008

Go where you are celebrated, not tolerated

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. 


Felicity said...

Well said, Simone. I'm so happy for you and Jason.

Norma-ann at The Mommy Project said...

Great post. Very well said. I love the motto...and I am so glad things have worked out so well for you all in the end (life has a way of doing that...doesn't it?)

Lori said...

Wow. This post made me sad and happy all at the same time. It does my mama heart good to hear how appreciated Jason is (and I am sure you are as well!)

Shan said...

Great post! Happy things worked out for you.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

It's so sad when a religious institution gives in to nasty politics. I've been part of one of those situations and it just broke my heart at the time. It's just not the way it should be.

I'm glad your DH has found a place that celebrates him. My DH was laid off years ago from a horrible job and then found a wonderful job, where he still is. We took a pay cut, but it was SO worth it on every, single level.

Shaina said...

I feel the EXACT same about Curt. He worked lousy jobs (in the church and out) that he didn't enjoy and couldn't use any of his real talent and was constantly pressured to be someone he is not. And then he volunteered most of his free time doing what God created him to do, which left us with little of Curt. Now, he gets to be EXACTLY who God made him to be and not have to go running out trying to find that after work. And the beautiful thing about that freedom is how much it effects every part of his life. I am so happy for you and Jason and I share in that joy and peace and freedom with you!

J&C said...

We second that Mony! Well said.

Jon and Cindy

Anonymous said...

there is life after grace!
anonymous #2

Chel - An Abiding Branch said...

That is wonderful. God is always good and right on time! I lived in Tulsa from 1996-2000. How funny to see that city listed so many times. :-)