The Challenging Reality of 'Life Goes On'


Today was his last Sunday. That reality hit like a ton of bricks when dignitary after dignitary entered the pulpit to speak about his work. To attest to his dedication to our community. To rave about the growth of the church.

It was New Year's Eve 2011. I was in grad school and in desperate need of a church home—something I had never had before. My aunt brought me and my mother to this church. An old, quite historic church. The heat was too high, and so were the speakers. The praise and worship team was relatively nonexistent. It was an interesting start to a New Year's service, but I was all in. Besides, I didn't drive that night.

The pastor got up to speak with not many theatrics beforehand. That may have been what I liked most. I grabbed a notepad and pen, and started scribbling down his words. He was listing ways to make it through this new year, in faith. Gem after gem he shouted into the mic. Gem after gem I was enthralled both in his delivery and the word he was delivering. "Wow," was all I could think to myself.

I entered that church around the same time I had begun reading A Purpose Driven Life; I'm certain that was strategically orchestrated. This pastor, much like the book, delivered a message that would change my life. A message that would bring me back. A message that jumpstarted my ever-evolving spiritual journey.

I stuck to that church and that 30-year old pastor like glue. Never missing a Sunday or a Watch Night Service. There, diligently. Paying my tithes and offering. Jotting down notes. Trying to find a ministry that worked for me. Vowing for that church like I built it myself. Varick became my church home, and Morrison became my pastor.

I started my first radio show through that church. Served in my first consultant capacity (although unpaid) for that church. Became my pastor's scribe for all things media-related. Got my first job in my field because of members at that church. Was celebrated through that church. Learned and memorized some of my first gospel songs and hymns in that church. Met women, who I did not even know would one day support my brand, in that church. I even got baptized (again) at the hands of that pastor. This church and this pastor became one of the biggest parts of my life.

But today was his last Sunday. And—while acknowledging that my growth in Christ was not at the hands of man but at the hands of Christ—I've never felt more lost than I do now. Because this was my first church home. He was my first pastor. And frankly, I'm not sure what to expect now.

Many of us get so used to a routine that we become lost when it changes. When old habits must die, we feel a piece of ourselves die too. We function well in the moments of our lives, even if they're dysfunctional, because they're what we're used to. We feel empowered for as long as things remain the same, or have the potential to get better. But don't let things get bad. Don't let our lives get stirred up. Don't let them get picked up by the muddy hands of a giant, and be shaken.

See—as challenging as this transition will be for myself and the congregation that learned to love this man and his vision—life goes on. And I mean that in both an inspiring way, suggesting that you'll get through every trial that comes your way, and in a don't-miss-any-of-your-moments type of way. I mean that in a you'll-get-over-this way, and a get-right-or-get-left type of way. I mean it in a you-can't-control-the-time-you-have-so-use-it-wisely way and a this-too-shall-pass type of way. See, life does not stop. It does not halt. And it does not wait for you to decide that you're okay. Life won't give you tissue to wipe your tears, nor will it rub your back after long days. Life will go on. It will encourage you to keep living; keep going; keep trying. It will force you to wake up another day and try again. To try harder; either at pursuing your dreams or at getting over the pain you've been enduring.

Life will go on. Things will change. Stuff will happen. We will become uncomfortable. Because life does not stop when your heart drops. It does not stop when tears flow. It does not stop when you rip your wig off and have had enough. It does not stop at the sign of your sadness, anger or dissatisfaction. Life continues—whether you're with it or not. It can get better, or it can get worse, but it will not stop.

My pastor is embarking on a new journey and heading back to the south; his life is going on. The congregation he leaves behind, will go home and make Sunday dinner. They'll tell their friends, or write blog posts, about this being pastor's last Sunday. They'll wake up for work on Monday and remember today's service. They'll work this week, pay bills and tend to their families, as their lives go on. And next Sunday, we'll welcome a new pastor, traveling from Los Angeles. His life, also, going on. 

Today was my pastor's last Sunday. I walked to my car and cried because my first pastor will no longer be my pastor. But even in this, he offered me a lesson. A lesson to keep me going on my spiritual pursuit. A lesson he has no idea he afforded me. A lesson that I will carry with me through this transition. And that's that life will go on. 

I will forever be grateful for the word spoken into my life through this man. And grateful for all that he's unknowingly done to support my spiritual journey. I pray that as life goes on, he'll continue to bless the lives of those he ministers to. And I pray that I, too, will one day have a presence as impactful as his has been to our city.  Thank you for your dedication to evangelism, education and economic development. Goodluck. 

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