Musings of a ‘Lonely’ Man

I had some observations today after an evening spent practicing the peace of silence…

  • Noise.  Sometimes even noise can be peaceful. I never would have thought the grocery store could lull me to sleep. But it almost did. I think this is the same principle as sleeping in cars or having a fan on at night. Monotone noise is rather peaceful. For a while.
  • Singleness.  If one more person tells me I’m lonely, I might actually start to feel that way. I know folks mean well and want me married off and all that good stuff but just because I live alone does not mean I’m lonely. I spend most of my waking day around people and “yucking it up” in the office. Going home to a peaceful house is actually quite nice. I like it.
  • Buzz Kill.  One thing I’ve observed repeatedly in nearly 11 years of ministry is that bureaucracy often kills ministry. Someone comes up with an ministry idea that they’re really excited about and we make them fill out a 50-page form and have three committee meetings and answer to a director and… Poof. They’re gone. Sometimes the opposite does the same. We (church leaders) say “Great idea!” or “I love it!” and then do nothing. Poof. They’re gone. If not physically, then certainly emotionally. As much as I love studying church structure and strategy and all that, if you lose the ministers you lose the ministry.
  • Acting.  I, de la Juan, have a secret longing to be an actor. Unfortunately, I wasn’t given a face or body for Hollywood, not to mention talent, but I try anyway. Aww.
  • Sadness.  This has been a melancholy week for me. On Monday I found out a colleague from another church had died suddenly. Tuesday I found out an old Haitian friend had died. I’ll write more on this later (I’m preparing a special blog entry) but my friend I met in 1995 when I went to Chambellan as a teenager. Jonel was another young man with big dreams. He spoke broken English, which allowed us to bond in a town of Creole speakers. He played guitar (may have been a songwriter but I can’t remember), wore a Cleveland Cavaliers ballcap, and was well respected. Wanted to study to be a doctor in Miami and come back to rural Haiti to serve the people. Jonel died of liver cancer eight years ago. He was working in a medical clinic when he contracted the evil disease. I did not know this until Tuesday. It’s funny how sometimes you have a sense that something has happened without knowing for sure. This was my case. Jonel and I corresponded in that year after I came home from Haiti. I kept the letter he sent but now I can’t find it. That, too, is sad.

I hate to leave you tonight on such a down note! On the missions front, things are moving along quickly. I have some more paperwork in front of me this month and then a retreat in October. Scotland comes sometime after. I can’t wait. It’s going to be a fun adventure with fun people serving a fun God. I’m still not sure what all lies in store but I’m very resolute in my desire to go across the pond to help the Church however I can. There’s a lot I can do, so I’m excited to see how God wants to use me.

— John