The Proverbial Swan Song

While I was preparing to write this entry I went down a rabbit hole on the origins of the term “swan song”.

I have heard the term many times, but never really understood what it meant. Apparently there is a belief dating back to ancient Greece that swans stay mostly mute for their life and then right before they die, they sing a beautiful song.

There is still a fair amount of debate on whether or not swans do in fact sing a beautiful song before they die. I would like to think it is true since swans are among the most beautiful of birds. They certainly are the most beautiful bird that you can see in Iowa, in the wild.

The term isn’t always morbid. Is has come to be synonymous with doing something great right before you retire.

I don’t know if this post 100% qualifies, but it is about a form of retirement for me.

For the last couple of years I have done some pro bono photography (although I once was paid in homemade treats for Naima) for the Boone Area Humane Society. The last time I did photography for them was when I covered their annual Pet Memorial Day Celebration.

Due to the shifting sands of the power structure of the Boone Area Humane Society, I have a feeling that I won’t be asked to do any photography for them in the coming years. But that is a story for a different time.

Here are some pictures from that event:


Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Kio ran the event. Pastor Doug gave a speech and lead us in prayer. It was a cool event. I hope it continues to happen in the future, but the way things stand currently, I have my doubts.

Another loss that people in one of my communities are experiencing is that we learned that we will be losing Pastor Doug and his amazing wife Jodie near the end of June. It is a good deal for Doug because he is getting a big fatty promotion. He will be the District Superintendent of the Southeast District. He will be posting up in Mount Pleasant.

For our church, it kinda sucks. Doug is a great Pastor and Jodie is possibly an even better Pastor’s wife. Losing both of them will leave a hole in our church that the next person or persons will have quite a time filling.

The new Pastor will also be like the 80th Pastor we have had in the last 5 years. Now that is probably hyperbole, but search your feelings, you know it to be true.

There is a common misconception that somewhere in The Bible it says “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” It is a common phrase that is trotted out as a reassurance when people are going through difficult times or grief.

The truth is that this isn’t in The Bible. Sorry, but sometimes that light at the end of the tunnel is a train.

That being said, I would like to give the common response to the phrase, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

I wish God didn’t know we were so strong*.

The good news is that while God doesn’t say anything about giving us more than we can handle, God does say that we won’t be tempted beyond our limits:

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Therefore, I hope my church will not be tempted to feel sorry for itself. I hope my church won’t feel tempted to cling to the past. I hope my church won’t be tempted to resist the future.

A new Pastor is coming. While they will be the 80th Pastor in the last 5 years, I have faith that we will get a good one. We are in a good position and while we aren’t exactly a “destination” denomination, we are in a relatively good place and we have some powerful people looking out for our interests.

Playing the numbers game, we’ve really only had one bad Pastor in the last 15 years. While they were a really, really, really, really, really bad Pastor (I mean the guy sermonized at least once a month about past congregants he had smited and that is just the tip of the iceberg), we aren’t due for another like him for at least 30 years. Those are my calculations at least.

While I’m sad to be losing such great people, I am optimistic about the future and what a new Pastor will bring to our church and what our church will bring to a new Pastor!

There is light at the end of the tunnel and at this time, I don’t hear a train.

*On a personal note, this phrase has always bothered me.

2 thoughts on “The Proverbial Swan Song”

  1. I end up adding new blood cells to my brain after reading your weekly blog. Interesting about the 80th pastor in 5 years. Yes, we are losing a caring, teaching, and “down-home” Pastor. Ms Jodie is a welcome addition for all who have come to know her. So our challenge is to carry on the things we learned from the Cues (they planted seeds among us) with God and Jesus as our teachers.

  2. I trust that adding brain cells is a good thing!

    I trust that we will get a good Pastor with Doug having a hand in the selection process. I’m staying optimistic.

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