LIFE RELIGION FAMILY

a place to come and discuss in peace, things of religion, life, and families

PASSAGES IN LIFE

Posted by tawodi on June 21, 2007


As we pass through life we,  each of  us, pass through stages and sometimes something that could be called,  for want of a better term,  a check point. I did just that today and didn’t realise it till after the fact,  that it would be a huge one for me.

I performed,  as” Solemniser” the first wedding ceremony of my ministry today,  at 5 P.M.  21 june 2007.  I of course was looking forward to this milestone for many reasons, as would any one in this line of work,  so to speak.  It was joyous for the participants as they started out together on a new life,  as you can expect it was.  When two people get together and stand up and say,  alright life,  BRING IT ON!!  it instills in us the feeling,  Yes go for it !! 

Those feelings,  as well as many others,  we all share at weddings.  Afterward I felt a great need to be alone for awhile, so after I filled out the bottom of the license and popped it in the mailbox. I grabbed a cup of coffee at the local convenience store and went and parked at the beach,  about a quarter mile away from where the ceremony had been conducted over looking the ocean (Atlantic)…….In Chatham.

I seemed to have no real sense of accomplishment as I thought I would at reaching this milestone in my life. But as I sat in my car I suddenly realised how many things had occurred within a mile of where I now sat. In 1964 I was stationed at my first duty station in the Coast Guard less than 100 feet from where I was sitting……In Chatham.  I came here as a green kid,  fresh from boot camp and prior to that,  a tough street kid straight from the streets of Chicago. This was the first place I had ever seen like this. We got to take liberty after we learned how to stand a watch by ourselves which took me about three weeks,  about average,  as there was a great deal to learn. As I walked down the main street (how quaint) a real place called,  Main street, I was suddenly struck with how nobody walked with their eyes on the ground as to make eye contact might invite a violent altercation like in the city. there was a band shell and a band concert going on and I had never seen one of those, ( they still have them) There were people walking along talking, totally relaxed, kids with balloons,  pop corn,  cotton candy, smiling parents, my God,  it was like a movie,  I was mesmerized and lost. Lost to the life I had known, never to return, I vowed to myself then and there,  that no matter what it took,  I would never go back to the life I had known. And I didn’t.

I met and married my first wife in 1966, in Falmouth Ma. on a bus,  when we married,  I finally met her father and step mother who lived in….you guessed it,  Chatham. Twenty years and three children later we divorced. a period of three years passed and I married again and five years later divorced for the second time. That’s IT,  no more for me !! I spent 2 and a half years alone, there was no more of me left to give away. I then met my wife at a club where my first wife was playing with her and her husbands band, (Yes, we had been musicians and singers together)  My youngest son was playing out (bass) for the first time and she had invited me to see him do it with them and I went,  SHAZAAM!!!  A tall willowy, twenty nine year old girl walked up,  and fifteen months later we were married!!  Who’d a thunk it??!!??   Oh by the way …….in Chatham. In the past I had lived in New Hampshire,  Maine and pretty much the prettiest and best places in New England,  like Nantucket,  the White Mountains of N.H. and guided as a registered Maine guide in the back woods of Maine and wound up guess where…….In Chatham.  While living here we have seen the birth of my daughter,  my fourth child,  my wife Laura’s first and only. We have built a life that is second to none, we don’t have much,  if any,  money, but there has never been a time when I and she have felt so fulfilled,  complete and blessed,  in our lives as in……..Chatham. My two oldest kids live on Cape Cod,  in other towns with our grandchildren, ( that used to be a tough one for laura,  a 35 year old grand ma)  but she has gotten used to it …..four times over!!!  Eleven  years ago I entered lay speaking ministry,  five years ago I became a certified lay minister. In ninteen ninety nine I suffered a heart attack that almost carried me off. My friend had been a chaplain for the V.A. and sent away for the papers to sign me up for health care.  Jan. 2000, two stents in my heart and recovery time in……Chatham. I,  thrilled that I might be able to see my daughter grow up,  and be there for her and mom before I died.  March 14, 2005,  met with the board of ordained ministry of the United Methodist Church ,candidacy ended,  I was devastated……. I vowed no decisions for ninety days…….May tenth perforated bowel ,into the hospital , surgery,  resect the bowel (colostomy) peritonitis,  five days on a respirator near death, (no I didn’t see anything) and five more days in the I.C.U. and went home. Huge wound in belly,  that didn’t stop bleeding till Nov 16 th that year. S.S. came through for us,  retired my sorry butt,  there’s other stuff wrong too. Started taking corespondence course in ministry got my 27 hours course credits from Duke from 1974, finished the course did two dissertations compounded my ministry experience. May ninth I was informed that the U. methodist Church did not want me to give the impression that anything I wrote or said had the impramatur of the church !!  I never did, but the writing was on the wall…..knock it off!!!!  OR ELSE!!!!  So I did,  I knocked it off,  I knocked it right out of the park! Told the pastor that anything they had to say to me was useless commentary,  as I was gone…..Home to Chatham……….

Literally fell into a funk for ten days…..got an E Mail  ” Dear Bruce,  your disertation has been accepted and you are being presented with a degree,  Doctor of Divinity and are to stand for Ordination on the twenty first of this month !!!????!!!”   (May).      BOOM!!!

I couldn’t believe it !!  So I called them up …..believe it!!     O.K. it sunk in and I was ordained on the twenty first. What do I do now????

Keep on,  keepin on, that’s what,  what ever you’re doin’,  it seems the BIG GUY, wants you to keep on doin’ it!!!

And so today a nice first day of summer a day to think about renewal maybe,  or where you’re going………Or maybe where you’ve been……..A whole lot of places and just like everybody else,  most of the time not having any idea whatsoever,  where I’m going,  or what I’m going to do,  when I get there,  but willing to try and willing to listen,  to what He has to tell me,  to be guided by the Lord,  when it’s so painfully obvious,  I DON’T HAVE A CLUE!!!

And so…to all of you,  mark those passages you make,  some never get the chance to make them.

To all I have ever known,  thank you for your friendship, your love,  your guidance, your knowledge, and support,  through the lean times,  the frightening times,…..and the good times.

And to Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Stirling…..Bon voyage,  may you have as fruitfull a life as I have had,  may you be as blessed with the love I have known, may you be blessed by your children,  as I have been,  and may you live a long, long,  time in peace and security, die in the arms of the Lord when it’s your time,  and love ……….Here in Chatham………..

Rev.    Bruce                                                                                                 Tawodi…..here, in Chatham

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