This was a warm fall. I’ve lived in the Carolina’s since August of 2002, and this was the first year that I didn’t need to wear a sweater on my birthday. * It was warm, comfortable, but then, all of the sudden, it was not. Oliver was born on a day that did not see a high of 55 degrees, and we’ve had many days like that since. It is cold, especially here in our old house. We love our current home, it’s affordable, convenient to Donnette’s work, and has lots and lots of character and charm. What it does not have is sufficient insulation, and so it gets cold.
In past years I’ve always welcomed colder weather, even while my wife has shuddered when the mercury drops below 72. I left Florida because it’s seasons were as follows: hot, hotter, this is really hot, oh my lord: how did people live here without A/C???!!, then back down to hot again and then, for like three days in February, really cold, and then right back to hot again. I’ve always loved that North Carolina has four real seasons, and that each last about the same amount of time, so that, just when you’re tired of one, a change in the weather comes along. Until this year, I really looked forward to this time of year, because I hate being hot and I was well equipped to handle the colder weather.
But over this last year, I’ve lost a few pounds, and with the weight gone, I’ve also lost the ability to withstand cooler weather. I’ve been cold, really cold, several times already this season, even before this recent streak of colder days hit. A few weeks before Oliver was born, Donnette and I attended a wedding, and while she was perfectly comfortable **, I seriously considered asking a friend if I could borrow her scarf. I wear socks around the house now, something that would have been unimaginable to me at this time last year. Still, it’s good to have the weight off, even if it means I’ve lost my walrus-like insulation.
I went before my Presbytery yesterday to take my final round of oral exams for ordination, and I am happy to say that while I missed a couple of easy questions, I was still approved to be ordained in the PCA. Four years ago, when I decided to go back to seminary, my goal was to be an ordained minister in this denomination. Whatever else I was being called to do, I knew it would be, needed to be, in this context, and so, with all the hurdles now cleared, I can finally say that this work is complete. Of course, in a very real sense, I haven’t even started my work yet, and being a minster means nothing if you don’t then actually minister to anyone, I get all that, and I’m aware that what’s ahead is far more important than what’s been done, but this is still significant to me for a number of reasons. Several years ago, I was reading “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and I was struck by a description of one of his characters. He describes a young man who is very zealous for God, and would do anything for Him, if only he could do it now, without having to sacrifice anything and without having to wait for anything. At the time, I was struck by how similar that sounded to my own heart, and felt convicted that, if I were going to do something in service of God, it would have to come at a sacrifice, and it would have to come after a sufficient time of proper preparation.
I am certain that there are difficult and dark days ahead for me as I head to France to minister. The testimony of every *** minister who has gone before me is that there are certain to be days in which they did not feel called, did not feel equipped, and seriously doubted whether or not it was all worth it. But if there’s to be any solitude, I think it will come from these last four years, because. there’s just no way I could have made it without the ever present grace of God working in my (and Donnette’s) life. We’ve sacrificed, and we’ve done the preparation, and I am ready, in a way that I wasn’t before, and that is a joyous feeling. My ordination service is scheduled for January 6th, at 6pm in my home church, Sovereign Grace. I’d love to have as many as would like to come be there for it, and if you live out of town and want to come, do it. We’ll find a place for you to stay, I promise.
Our next move is to the French Alps, a place that will make the North Carolina winters look quite balmy by comparison. I don’t know how Donnette’s going to survive it, but I already have a plan for myself. I should be just fine, as long as Kati agrees to let me borrow her scarf.
*The end of October
**This fall brought a weird reversal to our relationship. I’ve always been hot, she’s always been cold. Such had been the order of things. But there at the end, as I understand happens to most women, Donnette was perpetually hot, and so when I reached to turn down the A/C in the car, I was rebuked for making my wife uncomfortable. I’d hoped that once she had the baby, we’d be on the same page with the heat, but now, post partum, she’s proved that pregnancy was just an anomaly, and, for her, there really is no limit to how hot a house can be.
***While I do love hyperbole, this is not an example of it. I really do mean every last minister I know.