For the past two weeks I have been surrounded by men and women who get paid to talk. No I’m not talking about broadcasters or therapists, I’m talking about ministers. I don’t know if you’ve ever spent a solid week let alone two weeks with a group of individuals where none of them know the word shy? It’s like camping with a hundred Billy Grahams without the offering plate being passed around.
No matter the subject, no matter the content, each person has an illustration that corresponds with the subject at hand? Open up and say something like you wonder whether you’ve chosen the right vocation, and someone will invariably mention the biblical character Baalam. It was he (Baalam) who had a donkey that actually talked back to him when it wouldn’t do what its’ master asked. My friend would preface his remarks by saying, “If God can use a donkey to talk, He can use you.” This statement has all the charm of complimenting your prom date with the words, “You don’t sweat much for a chubby girl.”
Bring up the subject of a few religious renegades of the flock, and you’ll hear a litany of real life stories a reality show would drool over. One Church Shepherd gave his most intuitive appraisal of the flock by saying, “Do you know sheep bite?”
Throughout my two week assignment I saw hundreds of people and probably served hundreds more. I set up stages, tents, RV sites, and decorations. I never ate a single meal with less than a table full of people and I was never alone until my head hit the pillow at night. I had a slight epiphany what a mother of a two year old experiences on a daily basis, you’re never alone and it’s never quiet.
With mixed emotions I can tell you the convention is now over. I seek solitude. I am safely back home in my own fold. I’ve not listened to the radio once nor turned on the television since I arrived back. Every time my wife starts to touch a sound button I groan my disapproval. I’ve begun to stuff my ear canals with the kind of ear plugs airport baggage handlers use while out on the tarmac. At this very moment I’m grinning ear to ear because I can’t hear a thing. I have peace.
“Wait a minute, my wife is mouthing something to me. What’s that Honey? Vacation Bible School starts tonight, it will last all week, and we’re expecting 50 kids?
Can Baalam’s donkey wear earplugs and an Advil patch tonight?