Jill is asleep. I’m waiting on the guys.
I fix some hot tea and watch the clock.
Ben is the first to arrive.
Now I seamlessly and dramatically move from present tense to past tense. And you didn’t even notice.
He came up separate from Tullahoma because they all couldn’t fit in the rental truck. The other guys arrived soon, but Ben and I had to meet them at the church and bring them back since the 26 foot rental truck couldn’t park in the apartment complex. So Ben and I left for the church. We met up with DJ, Blake, and Will (our audio engineer for the weekend) and went to find a suitable place on the church campus to park the truck. As we were loading their luggage into my car, we decided we should go ahead and get the console (sound board) we had kept stored in the church media closet from when we had rehearsed a few weeks before.
Great idea. Get it out of the way, right?
As we pulled the truck around, I pulled through the awning-covered drop-off zone down by the Student Center. I looked back and saw that DJ had paused and started backing up because the truck wouldn’t fit. It was way too tall. I sarcastically gesture ‘cmon, you’re fine.’
We laugh. Crisis averted.
As Ben and I drove up to the Fellowship Hall (the easiest load-in point for the console) I chuckled to myself.
“This is going to be a good trip; we might actually make it through with no accidents. That would have been, like, craaaaaazy if he had hit that…” I mused.
[You see, on our way to the second-to-last gig we played (over a year ago), somehow the entire back right wheel assembly of our old van – brake drum and all – mysteriously dislodged itself and flew into traffic because Wal-Mart failed to re-tighten the lugs after a tire change. And it was raining. The last gig we played (right after the wheel incident) was a disastrous mini-tour through central Kentucky, full of unkept promises from our host, sleeping on towels on concrete floors, and stage-collapsing thunderstorms.]
So we pulled the rental truck up to the door making sure we had plenty of room to load the console in. But I soon realized I forgot my keys at home, so we couldn’t get in.
Bummer. Guess we should go home. Or try.
With my car in front, the caravan began driving around to park the truck for the night, which required pulling through another awning. A different awning. A much bigger awning. An awning that came out of nowhere.
Then a bird hatched in my backseat.
At least it sounded like it. A really big bird. Like a pterodactyl baby.
I checked my mirror. It was not a bird.
I felt like I was in a scene from the movie 2012. It certainly looked like one.
In my mirror, I saw that the top of the truck was attached to the concrete awning, which began to look like the Hulk’s neck as he gets madder and madder, but a lot less green. It bulged and swayed and cracked snappled and popped. I thought surely the entire church was going down. I broke my gaze from the mirror and looked back to reality: concrete and insulation was falling like cheap, fake movie set snow all around the cab of the truck. To avoid the guys being crushed by falling debris, DJ promptly backed up, which was like pulling a fish hook out of your finger. And more of the church fell to the ground.
I kept hoping for Ashton Kutcher to appear and tell me I had just been Punk’d. But he never came.
He never came.
Ben and I looked at each other, I moved the stick into neutral, let my foot off the brake, and we slowly rolled backward inch by inch as my body grew into a limp and confused bundle of mindless horror. After regaining a semblance of consciousness, we began to deal with the situation as best we knew how.
Just kidding. We stayed and took care of it. And that was that.
Let me say that I am very grateful that I have such good-hearted, understanding bosses, who, after hearing the story and working out details, laughed and told me that I was not the first. And let me tell you, I am in some good company. When people ask about it (and oh, how they ask about it), I think I’ll just start telling them that Extreme Church Makeover hired us to remodel.
After The Event (the destruction/remodeling of the awning will hereafter be referred to as The Event), we went home and went to sleep.
Maybe that’s what The Event (the TV show) is building up to. A truck crashing into an awning. That would be disappointing. And reassuring.
Friday morning was hectic. I was on the phone with my bosses, Jill was getting ready for work, I was trying to help Jill get ready for work, and the guys were watching youtube videos. DJ was on the phone with Penske and his insurance agents working through things as well.
You know, he may have broken the church and all, but DJ is one of the coolest, most responsible, most dependable guys I know. He’s gotcho back, yo. Not once did he try to cast blame on anyone else, nor did he wallow in self-deprecation the whole weekend. He ‘fessed up to a boo-boo and got over it. And I admire that greatly.
Remember from Part II when Jill and I hadn’t ‘seen’ each other in days? Yea, well that didn’t change. And The Event made it worse because, come on, that’s scary stuff. I spent the morning tip-toeing around conversation, attempting to assuage the looming thought of a tension-filled weekend. Then I kissed her goodbye and she left for another day at work, knowing she would be coming home to a me-less apartment because we would already be at the retreat. She would be coming up with the students that night to be a counselor to freshman girls for the weekend.
We finally left for the retreat early Friday morning. DJ and Will in the truck and me, Ben and Blake in Ben’s car. Miraculously, we made it up there without a hitch. Except that we missed it at first because Ben (who was driving) was talking on the phone.
We unloaded all the gear (DJ had brought a significant chunk of his production company’s rig for sufficient face-melting), found a little BBQ shack, then rehearsed for the weekend.
It was a great retreat. We richly experienced God’s presence, and many students made life decisions for Jesus. We spent time in community laughing, eating, pranking, learning and singing, and I know that God was glorified. I know that God was using me. I worshiped Him and was healed by His sweet presence.
But I wasn’t with Jill. Amidst all the worshiping and games and food and “necessary ministry business”, our relationship was getting pushed closer and closer to the sidelines.
The good things I was doing for Jesus were stiff-arming my wife.
Ouch. How Pharisaical.
But I saw her all the time. Like, at breakfast, and worship, and, like, we walked to the lodge together and stuff. And I, like, kissed her goodnight.
Let me explain something here that I have learned. One of the phenomena of the Female mind, if you will. Somehow, by some bending or perturbation of all natural and metaphysical laws by which we are irrevocably bound in this universe, a wife can actually miss her husband even when they are together.
Trippy, I know. I’m pretty sure that was the plot of Paranormal Activity. Or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. But alas, she is the woman I love, and love her I will. Minus the creepy Yoda voice.
Basically, God wrecked me with conviction about it. She is my most important earthly relationship. And a garden won’t grow itself. It may for a little while, but soon the foxes and weeds get ahold of it.
She needs my investment. Not just my presence.
She needs my involvement. Not just my interest.
And I let her down.
The fact is, God has joined us together. And even if I think or pretend or conjure up some pleasant reality that says otherwise, being apart hurts. Period. And the only prescription is not more cowbell.
It’s me sacrificing more of Me.
For something that has been proven time and again to be more than worth such a price.
I’m still learning how to be a husband and I will be for the rest of my life. And I’m so blessed to to have such an incredible bride. Unbelievable. Surprising. Hilarious. Absolutely, breathtakingly gorgeous. Upright and Godly. She definitely makes it easier on me.
And she definitely makes weeks like the last one worth the while.
This morning I woke up and Jill was still asleep. This post and its implications on my life were still ringing heavy in my heart, so I looked in the fridge to see if we had eggs and chocolate chips.
I drove to Kroger and realized my pants were on inside out. I awkwardly but deftly put them right side on (in the car, of course). I must have looked like a ninja. I got the goods and came home.
Her favorite meal is chocolate chip pancakes. And you can’t make chocolate chip pancakes without eggs or chocolate chips.
So I whipped up some of the finest CCPs you’ve probably never seen. I might even start a Pantry.
She woke up with the cutest, groggiest smile, and ambled like an adorable penguin from the bedroom. How I love that groggy penguin. We ate our fill of chocolate chip pancakes. And we’ve spent the rest of the day together. Doing what, you ask?
Running two miles.
Jogging two miles.
Talking about our budget.
Making a grocery list.
Mundane, boring things. But we were doing them together, as one, making intentional efforts each step of the way to really invest in each other. Let me tell you, working on the budget has never been so hilarious.
All because we were really loving each other.
The acts themselves didn’t have to be romantic, just the fact that we were doing them with and purely for the other person was enough to make us get that Lovin’ Feelin’ again.
Big difference from last weekend. Oh, the things we learn.
And don’t worry, I made enough CCPs for the next couple of days.
Bow chicka bow wow…