Seasons of Discouragement, Restoration and the Mundane
We welcome Steve Roobol, our new Director of Adult Christian Education at Central Church. Read on to hear more about his journey to Central. He looks forward to helping you walk your spiritual path.
As I live and walk through this earth these past 40 years, I have noticed certain rhythms surrounding me. Fall is by far my most favorite season of the year. Sweatshirts, football, changing of the leaves, and drinking hot liquids without judgment. Something changes however during the Thanksgiving season…it gets cold. . .real cold. Oddly enough, road construction seems to be less and less. Grass is usually covered in leaves. Sweatshirts turn to coats and the much anticipated winter is now officially upon us.
It seems every year that winter comes too soon for many. However, like the days of the calendar and the minutes on the clock, it arrives like clockwork. The months of the frozen tundra of North Michigan seem agonizing and often painful. Then, March approaches and we are counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds to open that cottage, the pool, the boat, graduations and wedding celebrations. Or if you are like me, reviewing the latest recruiting challenges for Notre Dame Football. And then the season that we are all too familiar with, orange cones. They tend to appear out of nowhere. In the most inconvenient route imagined.
But here in the North country, we have lots to celebrate in the summer. Cherry Festival, boating, backyard bbqs, fireworks, firepits, and lots of late night laughs. Then reality hits us yet again…back to school shopping. It seems impossible yet it arrived on time like clockwork. You noticed how quickly the one sentence for summer was? That is what it truly feels like for the majority of us. 6 weeks! 6 weeks?!? That is half the college football season. That is not even a full semester of school. Yet, think upon this, that is the lifespan of a very healthy and vibrant Monarch Butterfly.
When I was the lead pastor, I had tunnel vision. I was not focusing on the orange cones, the backyard bbqs, the fun in the sun or traveling to a new destination. My focus and awareness was on my two kids on a highway to adulthood, a marriage that was barely holding on, an outreach center that I was overseeing, and a massive weight of depression that was far greater than I have ever experienced with no end in sight. I broke down. I could not keep everything together. I literally left hundreds of books, countless hours of personal studies and massive amounts of tears all in my office and I walked away with no regrets. The divorce was final. My ministry was over. All I had was myself to look at in the mirror alone with my one year old pup. I made a promise to contact and see my kids as often as possible. But, I was beyond exhausted.
The saving graces were, Celebrate Recovery and my landscaping job. I planted trees, watered trees, pruned trees and cut down trees. From March-November and plowed and shoveled snow during the heaving snow storms. But what I looked forward to more than anything was overseeing all of our donation projects that we did for non-profit organizations. The donation season only lasts for 8 weeks! I spent 10 months of work, sweat, blood, toil, heat, rain and hundred of hours in a truck traveling across Michigan only to relish in a brief moment of serving others.
Then, out of the mundane. Out of what seemed to be just another precious moment with my daughter, my life changed yet again. Taylor and I spent the majority of our evening putting new photo albums together. One by one, I told her a brief synopsis of each folder. A recurring theme kept popping up…my high school sweetheart named Esther Triggs. I contacted her once we were done through Facebook. I explained what my daughter and I completed. I remember asking her, “How are you doing?” To my surprise, she responded! Come to find out, while I was with Taylor going through old pictures, she was with her daughter Izzy going through old pictures…AT THE SAME TIME!
We were each going through different stages of divorce and divorce recovery. We had more in common than we did 24 years ago. We laughed harder now than I can recall. We got married on December 10th of 2021. She works at Interlochen Center of the Arts as their Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She and I went church shopping and had visited a number of churches in the T.C. area. But for us, it was Central United Methodist Church that grabbed our hearts and our attention.
It is your heart and passion to love and serve “who so ever.” It is your vision and mission statement that we celebrate and say, “yes and amen.” It is your kindness and welcoming spirit that brought us here and keeps us here. With a few conversations and a couple of interviews, I was offered the opportunity to serve as the Director of Adult Education.
Like clockwork, seasons come and give way to another. Like our journey with the most high, God’s Spirit gives way to new opportunities and new adventures. Like seasons on a calendar, there are moments where we have to say, “thank you for the memories!” “See you soon!” I acknowledge Donna’s hard work and countless conversations that she had with some of you. And, if you are like me, I tend to be slightly surprised and taken back by sudden change. Like that new table in the darkest of night that I have introduced my little toe to. Or the moment when you look back and forget that you are still walking forward and hit a window. Sometimes, that is what new seasons feel like.
My encouragement to you is three fold:
- Embrace the season that you are in now. Breathe in every moment possible.
- Seasons will not stay the same. Yes, they linger. But, change will come…eventually
- Take advantage of the mundane for that is when God does the most unexpected