debrief: April 2015

It was some time in April of 2015.

At that point a lot of planning and determinations were made to make some moves.

We all labored toward an unproven partnership.

I myself can attest to my unproven record and maybe that’s why everything felt uneasy.

I didn’t know what I was getting myself into (when do I ever) but at the same time there was, yet again, an uneasy peace that at least we had a plan and even deviating away from this plan still meant that at it’s original and intended starting point: there was a plan.

The arrangement was that I would go part-time to half-time to full-time.

The progression intended was 2015-2017 where sometime in 2017 I would be ordained and at full-time status as an associate of this church.

But 48 hours and nothing was the same.

It was Thursday night mid to late April. I get an abrupt call from Pastor Don and he’s asking me for some time to talk. I nervously agree to make time as I briefly delay my plans to study for my last round of seminary finals.

“Pastor Jongdae, the session just decided to let Pastor David go. Rev Huh wants you to take over immediately.”

I thought he was joking.

I legitimately thought that this was a prank.

I still remember my throat starting to weigh like a ton as it got sore and dry in a hurry. My stomach did a few turns as I tried to process that night what was going on.

There were so many moving parts and so much impact to be felt by this decision and yet I couldn’t fully grasp the weight and gravity of this situation.

I lost a partner and a friend.

It wasn’t the perfect pairing, but I still lost someone.

The drive up to New Jersey was the longest drive of my life. Every exit on the turnpike felt like a doomsday countdown and all I remember about that drive was that it was cold. And it wasn’t the cold that made me feel so numb.
A few hours later we huddled at the diner nearest to church and started talking briefly about what this decision meant. What it meant for our plans and what all of this meant for the church. 

The obvious question was pressing us both: “What the heck do we do?”

I had to ask: What would you do.

P.Don gave me an answer that was so painful but true.

When my senior pastor needs me, I would obey.

That decision to be faithful to the church extended an already painful two years by another four. I lost a lot that night, I just didn’t realize it yet.

I didn’t know that I would be giving up the latter half of my twenties.

I didn’t know that I would be giving up so much

But such is life when you decide to pursue something worthwhile.

You have to sacrifice everything.


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