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September 26, 2012

Garbage Bags and My Day

by Rev. A. J. Iovine

If I could characterize my Wednesday, then I would aptly describe it as “confused.” Today has been a very confusing day. Work that I needed to accomplish has not been completed. Items that didn’t need my immediate attention have been finished. And why, oh why, did I answer the phone three times today, telephone calls that required immediate attention thus taking me away from accomplishing needed tasks.

On my outside-of-the-church get done list today was a need to pick up garbage for the house. Don’t laugh, but the last time I purchased garbage bags was December 2010 (I bought a box of 120 from BJs Warehouse a couple of days before Christmas that year). Since then, I started composting. I changed my diet that includes a lot of compostable fruit and vegetables, but zero animal products. I can go three weeks without filling up a garbage bag because most of my waste goes into the compost or the recycling bins.

Three weeks ago, I started using my final garbage bag. On my grocery list since that Monday morning was the need to buy garbage bags. And on that list, garbage bags have remained until today when I realized that when I finally take out the now-full bag from the trash, I will be without any place to put my garbage. 

And then, the phone rang. I had to run out and help someone out of an emergency. Upon completing this non-pastoral, yet still a pastoral task, I headed over the Shop-Rite in New Milford to buy garbage bags. And grapes. And toilet paper.

Not aScreen Shot 2012 09 26 at 2 50 23 PMn eclectic shopping list, to say the least; a “necessary” one. With garbage bags in tow, I walked back into the house with the phone blaring once again. An other “emergency.” An hour later with another non-pastoral, yet pastoral task, under my belt, I came home for lunch. Nothing too dramatic —plain couscous with tomato, scallion, chopped raw zucchini, black beans, avocado. Yet as I ate, the phone rang again — another non-pastoral, yet still considered pastoral task, was at hand.

At 2pm, walking in the house, knowing that my work list has not even been touched, as of yet, I decided to start putting some items off until tomorrow. Several phone call and emails later, it is now 2:45pm (as I write this post). We have church tonight at 7; bible study either starts or follows our service. Personally, I am leaning towards it starting immediately at 7pm.

But the phone may ring. I may need to run out on another emergency.

Someone once asked me if I could ever envision throwing the towel in on this pastor’s life. I said, “No.” The fact is, with its long hours and its build up of stress, bringing Christ to God’s people is something I can never cease to do.

And when that phone rings and I have to run, I do so with a hopeful heart and smile. 

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