Saturday, March 20, 2010


I love the title of Debby's blog, "Life's Funny Like That." I love it because it is so, so true.

A common question when one says the word "funny" is, "Do you mean funny/strange or funny/ha-ha?" And I won't speak for Debby but, for me and my life, it is quite certainly a combination of the two.

I am exhausted tonight. Why? A number of reasons, but chief among them is the fact that Wife has been gone for a week. We have one child left at home. One would think that he and I could function quite nicely and we have done so, but there's still so, so much to be done. Making sure this one child left at home has everything he needs. Worrying about him until he gets home if he's been out (Wife usually does that). Laundry. Taking the dog out. Picking things up. Putting things away. Telling the one child left at home to pick up and put away. Cooking (or some semblance thereof). And working fulltime, of course, through it all.

All of that is funny/strange in a way because I am always giving Wife helpful tips and questioning, sometimes, why she seems frustrated trying to balance all that she does.

That's also funny/ha-ha because of the sheer irony that here I am barely able to put one foot in front of the other trying to do what two people usually do (and mostly what she does!). When Wife reads this she will laugh, and rightfully so.

On another front, I have written here previously about a non-profit on which I have served on the Board of Directors for several years. It's what is commonly perceived as a "homeless shelter" but it's so much more. In addition to three meals a day and a bed for anyone who needs it, this incredible organization offers life recovery programs that are unbelievable. I couldn't even begin to share the stories of the changed lives and new directions of people there, people just like you or me, who might have made a bad choice or two (also just like you or me) but, through God's grace, were given another chance because of this place. I am humbled to be a small part of it.

Late last year I was asked to serve as vice-chair of the Board, a position which has its own responsibilities in addition to most likely being in line to be the chair in a couple of years and, of course, filling in when the chairman is absent. I quickly said no, not the time in my life, lots going on, still traveling, etc., etc. I told them I would be happy to fulfill some other commitments I had made to the organization, but no thank-you, I would not be taking that position at this time.

Nobody put any pressure on me and my non-acceptance was received graciously. Toward the end of the year, however, I received a phone call from one of those people who just commands your respect, a fine Christian lady in her 70s who served as Board chair several years ago and who explained to me the need for new leadership. By the time I got off the phone I had accepted the position of vice-chair. Sometimes you just know, and I knew.

I told Wife it would be a big job but at least I would have a strong chairman to work with, who is also a good friend, and he would give me a lot of grace, as well as plenty of time to grow into his position if I were eventually asked to succeed him.

My friend the chairman sent an e-mail to several of us a few weeks ago. He had just been diagnosed with lymphoma. He said he was confident that he has a good prognosis and he had been given a lot to be optimistic about. But short-term, he's starting chemotherapy and, according to his e-mail, he did not yet know how his body would react. And of course he would be having some down-time as far as his responsiblities as board chair are concerned.

And friends, you can read between the lines here. This morning was our monthly meeting and who do you think stood in front of this august group of people, trembling, wondering what in the world he was doing? This organization is very visible in the community. We have over 100 employees and a large budget. We're in the middle of a huge expansion program to be able to house women and children who are knocking at our doors. What possible business do I have being IN CHARGE of something like this?????

And when I got up to call the meeting to order, I was completely overcome and could hardly speak. And it's not because I was nervous (which I was), it was because I had this realization that life really is FUNNY --funny/strange and funny/ha-ha at the same time. It is both odd and hilarious that God would allow and/or call me to be in this position, leading a group that has the potential to make such a difference in the lives of people who have perhaps lost the ability to see that life can be funny -- and fun -- at times.

And tonight I'm weary. I am so ready for Wife to get home and resume normal life. So ready to go back to the teamwork that makes our marriage work, where sometimes I lead and sometimes, thankfully, she leads, and we collectively roll with the punches that come our way. It's a great institution, marriage.

And as for the new position I found myself in, well, I can only quote my friend Debby (and thank her), that life is indeed funny like that. We think we know what's going on and what's going to happen next and we make all these plans, only to find ourselves having to learn new roles and accept new challenges.

And that's not just funny, it's exhilarating. I am thankful.

And humbled.

And tired.


quid said...

Weary, you should be.

The organization you now chair has a vital force leading it. I know you will make a difference. Congratulations!

Get some rest.


Kelly said...

Oh, Bob....I have complete confidence that you will do a fine job with your new position. We've been friends literally all our lives and I hope you know how much I respect and admire you.

And yes, I know your wife will be tickled to see how much you've missed her steady presence in your home!

Bless your heart. Here's a (((hug))).

Redlefty said...


That's all I can say right now. You go Bob!

Debby said...

Wow, Bob! That's really great! Congratulations. You'll probably feel overwhelmed and tentative at first, but as you gain confidence in yourself (and God's choice), you're going to find yourself really growing into the role. You'll do great.

I'm glad that your wife is headed home to take charge of things again. Tim has a tendency to question me how I do things. He sometimes thinks that he has the better way to do them. The only problem is that he doesn't actually do them.

Bob said...

Thank you all for your kind comments. Just to clarify, I don't see this as anything permanent right now, just an "acting chair" while my friend undergoes his treatments. I have a number of reasons to be praying for him!

Bob Barbanes: said...

Oh man. Another fun post! I was going to write a response but when I looked I saw that Michael (Redlefty) had written EXACTLY what I was going to say. Dammit.

So congratulations! I know you'll do well in the "temporary" position. the back of your mind, I'm sure you have an inkling that it might be permanent - you just don't want to admit it and I don't blame you.

Best wishes :)

Steve H. said...


I echo the congrats on the new position and must note that my wife has been away for a couple of days and I'm home with my son surrounded by pizza cartons and dirty thats funny.

BTW, I've rethought my position on Sandra Bullock's Oscar win...and am more sympathetic to your argument :)