What's On My Mind...

What's On My Mind...

Posted on October 01, 2019

BY DAVE RODRIGUEZ, SENIOR PASTOR

It’s 4:00 a.m. and I can’t sleep. Probably not a good time to reflect on what I am thinking these days. Or maybe it is. What AM I thinking?

I’m thinking of how discombobulated I am. I like that word. It’s an onomatopoeia…a word that sounds like what it represents. Discombobulated is a mish-mash of sounds and vowels and consonants. My thinking these days is a mish-mash of joys, fears, memories, sighs, wonders, and a few regrets. Ask me tomorrow what I am processing. Then again, the next day, and you’ll likely get two wildly different emotions.

But right now…at this moment…at 4:00 a.m. a little more than 8 months before I end my time as Senior Pastor of Grace Church I am having a slide-show of memories.

Stacia Matthews came to mind tonight as Cathy Foley, our elder chair, told me she had had dinner with her recently. I remember visiting her, along with Penny, in intensive care following her terrible stroke and praying for a miracle of recovery. It was a true prayer of faith because I could not see any way she would ever have a life again. And yet…today Stacia is vibrant and active and alive in every sense of the word. Yes. It is a miracle. I’m thinking about that tonight.

I’m thinking about one early morning years ago. The day we launched our first Day of Service. We had done the unthinkable and had canceled weekend worship services to, instead, send our people out into Central Indiana to be the hands and feet of Jesus. There, at our 146th St. campus parking lot in the early morning dark I wondered if anybody would show up or just stay home to write me a critical email. My memory though is one of hundreds of car lights streaming onto the campus and stretching down 146th St. I wept with joy and relief.



The memories are picking up pace. The inner-city kids’ drumline marching down the center aisle of Central Auditorium at the end of an Easter service. It still gives me goosebumps. Walking into the Care Center to a packed house of friends waiting expectantly to be cared for. I can’t walk back there without tearing up. That awful night of Doug Gripp’s death. Making soup with my mission trip team preparing to head to Harlem on the Relief Bus. Bursting into tears on a strategic planning retreat with the pastors as, once again, the Holy Spirit showed up with just the right vision. Preaching in the round at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. And on the stage at our Fishers Campus for the first time. And standing in the gym at the Y, under the goal where I had shot basketballs, as I spoke to our North Indy campus. Jim Hannenberg lurching out of the ice-cold baptism waters of the old dinosaur kiddie pool with a gasp that made me think he’d gone on to glory on the spot. The shockingly honest interview with Kara Tippets just months before she stepped onto the shores of heaven. The explosive moment of deliverance as a young woman’s body was released from her demons. The flood of hundreds to the waters of baptism the first time we just opened the tank and said come.



And now faces are flashing by. Many faces. Those who have stayed faithfully from the days of the gerbil tube to those who’ve stormed out of the church in anger. My mind is a whirl of feelings and fears. Joys and cherished memories. Handshakes and hugs, laughs and scowls. Shouts of celebration and whispers of defeat.

All the things.

Can a brain…a heart…actually hold this much?

So, yeah. If I am walking by you and appear distracted, you’ll know why.

I am looking forward to reflecting more with you all in the days to come. The glory of the past and the mystery of the future. But right now…I’m going back to bed.

Comments

The things I am trying to process, so perplexed at, when people lightheartedly, ask me, after I’ve just retired from teaching kindergarten after two different sets of years struggling to get a teaching job initially and again after being home with our kids. Yes, it’s wonderful, and it’s loaded with complicated thoughts and emotions, faces, events, celebrations, disappointments, places, and questions about what’s the best way to negotiate what happens next, and who I still am and who I am not. Prayers for you! A lot for a pastor and a pastor’s Dad!!! I passed my classroom on, that was bad enough, a couple of churches full, wow!! Praying Jesus gives you just the right stuff to ponder and lots to just rest in Him about.

Posted by Randy Goff on October 5, 2019 @ 4:47 pm

I could make this lengthy but won't ....plain and simple Dave (although that isn't referred to you), you WILL be missed by so many but will still be within our hearts as you encounter this new chapter of life. I have learned so much from your sermons but also, from your wonderful insight of growth and love for Grace Church, I sincerely wish you & Penny the best, hugs to you :-)

Posted by Joanie Guilkey on October 2, 2019 @ 11:23 am