Thanks for the all the comments, well-wishes, and shares you've thrown my way over the last week here. Greatly appreciated! I've got a couple of more current things coming this week but we are, after all, a little busy right now with little Cooper. I've got a handful of pieces that I have written over the years that fall into the "Life, Work, and Faith" category you see at the top of the page and I'm going to be throwing them up sporadically over the next few weeks when I see fit. This one was written three or four years ago (edited only slightly) and I think it speaks volumes about what kid's ministry is all about. Sometimes I like to think I’ve come pretty far in my professional life. I’ve managed to meander between a few crappy jobs in order to end up where I’m at and I feel pretty blessed to be here. At 26 I’m in what is pretty much my dream job (with the exception of playing professional basketball). And heck, this time last year I was teaching gymnastics to 3 year olds in the morning and babysitting 6th graders in the afternoon. Ugh.
Still there are days where I feel perhaps I’m not quite as far along as I might have thought.
Today my services, along with the rest of those of the rest of the Children’s Ministry team, were called upon to help clean out a storage unit. Now by “clean out” I mean “throw away everything you can find” and by “storage unit” I mean “place where everything that has ever been discarded in the history of The Hills Church of Christ has been sent to die.” You know when you move and you have some trouble deciding what to keep and what to throw away and you wonder why you have some of this stuff in the first place? That’s what this was like, only it was 100 BILLION times worse and it was someone else’s stuff.
By the time I got to The Site the rest of my team had already pulled out a massive amount of junk that could not have ever served a legitimate purpose and was loading trucks. When we realized we couldn’t use The Site’s dumpster we then got to unload the stuff that had just been loaded in order to load it more properly so that it could withstand a trip on the highway. Calls were made to determine where exactly we might be able to take all of this wonderful garbage that had seemed so important to keep. Meanwhile some of us tried to determine how best to proceed. My idea to leave, stop payment on The Site, and when the storage people threatened to throw away our stuff if we didn’t pay, laugh and tell them “go for it” was considered but ultimately turned down.
More calls were made. We discussed the possibility of there NOT being at least one snake hidden somewhere in the pile of rubble and decided that it was between zero and one percent. (I would lean more toward the zero.) Finally, after repacking the trucks yet again, a solution was found. We could take our wonderful collection of Styrofoam structures, broken tables, and enough PVC pipe to stock a Home Depot to a dump that straddled the North Richland Hills/Arlington border. (If the word “dump” brought to mind the commercials for discount furniture store The Dump, as in “the dump-to-the-dump-dump-dump,” you are not alone my friend.)
Three trucks were dispatched to this landfill and I managed to squeeze myself into the group chosen to go. Frankly I didn’t want to be at The Site when the body of a long lost elder was inevitably discovered. We made our way to the dump which is a world unto itself, nestled away between cow pastures and topless night clubs. We pulled into a lifeless dead zone and paid our seven dollars per truck to begin our drop off. Who know you had to pay to bring trash to the trash people. Weird, I know. A sign on the side of the check in station read, “If you come into the dump by 4:30 you will be allowed to enter as long as you finish by 5:00 pm.” What happens if you need to stay until 5:01 is anyone’s guess. Perhaps you’re locked in for the night, perhaps you’re required to put in some time washing dishes at the topless bar, I’m not really sure.
We were (rudely) directed to a couple of dumpsters and told, in no uncertain terms, that metal was not to be unloaded in these dumpsters. My first thought was, why not? My second thought was what happens when I throw metal away at home? It all ends up here doesn’t it? How exactly do they sort this stuff? My third thought was, why are you asking questions? Just dump this stuff and get the heck out of here before you get locked in the dump for the night. I took whatever metal we had in the bed of the trucks over to the designated “Metal” pile. This area clearly resembled the trash compactor on the Death Star minus the blaster proof walls and since Chewbacca wasn’t there to protect me, I quickly threw my stuff in and retreated before the snake pulled me under.
We all jumped back in our trucks and headed out with only a slight detour taking us squarely into the middle of the landfill. A truly wonderful suburban sight, I must tell you. It was on our way back to The Site (and the all too certain camera crews we would all face after the discovery of the Sasquatch locked away inside) that the craziness of this day hit me. It was a pretty solid bet a few years back that my career would someday involve working at a dump but I had thought that those days were probably behind me. After all the crazy jobs I’ve had over the years, who would have thought that it would be this one, the ministry job of all things, that would have me spending my day at the dump? Perhaps I’m not quite so far along as I thought I was. Or perhaps that was just the truth about ministry coming to light.
We also found the cure for Swine Flu, Brian