Snow Day

Today I am working from my study at home because, once again, it has snowed.  No big news there.  Virginia weather changes more frequently than I change my clothes.  So, it’s five degrees out one morning; fifty degrees out the very next afternoon but, for now, I am waiting things out and trying to be at least a little productive.

Which brings us to today’s musings.

When it comes to my ministry – there are no “real” snow days.

Yes, the work schedule – and location – shifts now and then.  Nevertheless, I think of those in my congregation who have are having medical tests performed or who have just had surgery; those who are mourning the loss of a loved one; those who are weathering (no pun intended) a shift in a relationship; those who are struggling with pressures at work or wishing their responsibilities at home were a little lighter.  I think of those who are dreaming today – hoping for new purpose.  I am reminded of those struggling to find purpose in the first place.  I think of the children – whose laughter and faith brings hope to us all.  I think of the elderly – whose wisdom gifts us all.  I think of those in-between – who are just trying to do the best they can.

These are the individuals, the families, the situations about which I pray daily.

I try not to worry – not too much anyway.  Though perfectly human, it’s really not very productive and it betrays how I need to have stronger faith at times.

I think, I pray, I do what I can to help and I give thanks when I remember I never do this alone.  My wife, my fellow congregants, my professional colleagues all help me along the way.  Of course, most of all, I am reminded of how I can “do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

There are no “real” snow days.  The process, the work, the ministry, never ends.  Even when I carve out some “R&R” time – the need remains.

On the other hand, so does God.  God remains – always there, always leading, always guiding, always blessing us with grace.

So, let it snow.  All will get done in due time, according to God’s purposes.

Time for another cup of coffee.  Then, it’s back to work – the work of the kingdom – snow or no snow.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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