maybe all i need is a shot in the arm

may i brag about my husband for a bit?

jim received an award tonight from our local american red cross chapter for the work he has done to bring wilderness first aid medicine to this region.  they praised his passion and service and more than that, his character.

jim is a man who is generous, who pursues excellence always and is an asset to any team because of his skill set and leadership gifts.  he never seeks credit and his efforts can go unnoticed--but not tonight.

my eyes welled with tears to see him affirmed.  it does a wife's heart good to see her man's life and work celebrated.

but i felt the ache of conviction, too.  the truth is that i've begrudged the work jim has done for them.  the hours and weekends away--and there weren't even that many!  my goodness, several individuals tonight received awards for thousands of hours served this year alone!

jim and i have been in vocational ministry throughout our entire marriage:  at church, christian school, and for the last 6+ years at camp.  we serve because we love it.  it is a real blessing to feel passionate about one's work, and to impact the Kingdom of God in tangible ways--and get paid for it--is an honor we don't take for granted.  we've never made much money, but our needs are always met, and to get to see God's hand at work in the lives of hundreds of people is an awesome and beautiful thing.

but ministry hours can be long:  stupid-long in the summer, and jim works most weekends throughout the year.  when summer camp and its wild schedules wane, i guard our family time fiercely.  volunteer obligations that eat up precious evenings and weekends without adding income are not my favorite.  the honest truth is that they piss me off, and i hate that, because being against volunteerism is like hating rainbows and goodness and puppies and america, and what, should we only love on the clock?

but when your work is serving, you can get a little served out--at least i can.  i'm projecting.  jim rarely feels like that, but i get jealous of his time away from us.  it's a vocational ministry hazard, i suppose, or perhaps one faced by all the helping professions.  our family will continue to wrestle with the balance, but in the meantime, i'm grateful that tonight was a shot in arm.  it turns out, a little civic engagement can chase away a cloud of cynicism.

tonight was especially poignant as the human toll of flooding, hurricanes, wildfires, and 9/11 have all been in all our hearts and prayers.  the red cross honored local companies who give furniture to fire victims and fund disaster relief at home and abroad. we honored people who leave their families to travel out of state when flood or hurricanes ravage and aid is desperately needed.  we honored citizens who give sacrificially so that hospitals have blood, and supplies, comfort and relief are available in emergencies.

we honored my husband, whose vision and work are expanding the reach of red cross service.  it's Kingdom work, too--on earth as it is in heaven.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ's compassion to the world
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about
doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.
-St. Teresa of Avila 

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