Pastor Dan, youth minister.
My life has been a folly.
(but not a Matt Foley)
Recently, on a Saturday afternoon, post Thanksgiving, on a long drive, alone again, I began considering things spiritual. My spirituality, other peoples spirituality, and how that all intermingled. I stumbled into one of my favorite coffee shops in the Ashburn area. As I order my coffee, the Barista smiles and said this is going to be an odd question. I told her to fire away, and then she asked me if I was a youth pastor. She said you seem cool, like a youth pastor, lots of energy ..like a youth pastor and, well, just the face of a youth pastor.
What does a youth pastor look like?
Maybe she is just into youth pastors.
I chuckled a little bit, as I thought to myself how far away I was from a youth pastor. The first thought in my head was the Apostle Paul. He once stated, and I paraphrase, that I am the sinner of sinners. I thought of that, as I totally relate. As far away as I am from the youth pastor, her guess was not that far off.
Not to say that I am Pious like a youth pastor, or deeply rooted in Scripture. But she spoke to my heart. Or maybe she saw my heart. When I was an “on fire Christian”….. I wanted to become involved in Ministry. And the two areas were youth pastor, or marriage ministry. On both fronts, I completely failed in my personal life. Many of my frequent prayers have been, stated in a minimalist manner, “Lord, show me my greatest weakness.”
3 agnostic children and 2 failed marriages later, here I sit.
Those are glaring side effects of the underlying causes.
Trust. Follow-through. Compromise. Greed. Lust. Weakness. This list could go on and on and I could rip myself to shreds. I could write a riveting tell-all of How Not To….. well you can fill in the blanks of subjects ad nauseum .
Why today? Why after my thoughts drifted off to God? Why Me? And why has that conversation ran through my mind over and over. Dear God, it’s me, Daniel….
Two and a half years on the “Boom-Boom” wagon, schlepping my way from bed to bed and lying my way from woman to woman… whiskey stiffled my conscience enough to feel ok about it (only till the drink or feeling faded away) so that i could keep up my game of “port bingo”. It all stiffled my spirituality as well. Kinked the God conduit if you will.
I used to hear Him.. not so much in the audible sense, but in murmurs to my soul, a gentle guiding hand. Answers to questions. Those lines have gone silent. Not so much as busy signal or dial tone. Matters of the flesh has overtaken that. Concerns of worldy clammerings have superseded my spiritual pursuits. And man, it’s fucking loud in my head.
I still talk to God however. and I no longer play Beach Blanket Bingo. Meaningless sex has lost its luster. It’s difficult to pretend you’re somebody else for long periods of time. It becomes exhausting and even more so, expensive as hell. It took its toll on me physically, mentally, financially and spiritually.
It was something I had done to hide the pain. I used to keep track of the numbers as a badge of honor. It was a joke amongst my circles of friends. A bragging right for myself, and endless locker room stories.
The numbers have faded away. I really have to sit down and think it through to come up with an approximate number. I have a lot of shame regarding those conquests I used to relay to my colleagues and friends in lewd graphic detail.
Youth pastor…. I think not. Fallen angel, wayward wanderer. Maybe. Think I’ll go to church today. Well on second thought I have a lot of driving to do. I’ll do it later