All last week dark clouds were hovering, at least in the background, and sometimes directly overhead. And I don't mean atmospheric rainmakers either. The discovery of my dear ex-boss Paxton Briley's death in Tallahassee of a few years back. Keith Bilbrey's firing from WSM-AM 650. My inability to pay rent for March. My on-going and seemingly fruitless search for a job to replace the one I lost at Signius. Dark clouds (see the previous post, 20 March, for the grim details)!
All this while most public schools in the metropolitan area were out for Spring Break. And most of this while, meteorological reality was an early, sunny Spring!
But Friday, the metaphorical clouds broke -- and the official first day of the Spring of the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Nine commenced with an eruption of sunshine -- meteorological as well as metaphorical!
Okay, I hear you, dear reader: "En'uf already with the big words!"
First, on Friday morning I GOT a JOB! Second, on Friday afternoon my mail included my income tax REFUND -- which means I can finally pay March's rent on #268 at Mercury Courts! And I'm now "legal" to drive in Tennessee -- I got my in-state driver license!
My new job will be driving a company vehicle for Bradley Health Services and delivering medical prescriptions and supplies in the Nashville area -- in a sixty-mile radius. A Bradley driver named Will often rides the Route 15 MTA bus with me, and just after I lost my job at Signius, of which Bradley is a client for phone-answering, I passed time at Music City Central (the new MTA depot downtown) by introducing myself to him and commenting on my knowledge of Bradley's work thru Signius, and my new unemployed status. Will recommended that I apply to become a driver for Bradley, like him; Thursday, his boss Toney called me to "set up an interview". When I arrived Friday morning it was less a job interview than an orientation; i.e., I already had the job. The only glitch was my having a valid Texas license, and not a valid Tennessee. Toney informed me that I must possess an in-state license to do the job. So I borrowed funds to pay for one and spent most of the afternoon going to and waiting at a driver license center in the Inglewood neighborhood of Nashville.
Get this: once the paperwork was done and the license paid for, I was instructed where to go to get my picture taken and receive the new license. When my name was called and I stepped to the photo-shoot spot I ran my hand across the top and back of my head to straighten the hair. I sometimes have trouble with hair in that area being messy. But what I missed was the bangs. When I saw my photo on the new license, the bangs which were messy -- almost ragged! Oh, well! I was too happy about having a Tennessee license "hot off the press" in my hot little hand! I joyfully phoned Toney and let him know, and that I could report for work on Monday!
Then I went home and found in my mailbox a check from Uncle Sam for my income tax refund. I supped with thankfulness and happiness, and listened to a better than usual Friday Nite Opry on WSM.
Nothing particularly notable occurred on Saturday, but it was a very pretty Spring day.
Sunday continued the prettiness of the newly-commenced Spring weather. As with last Sunday, the attendance at Pastor Jay's class was comparatively small (probably due to several schools and universities being out for Spring Break the past week). However, as with last Sunday the discussion was lively and enlightening! So many fascinating observations were shared about the lectionary readings for the day. I tell you, I love my brothers and sisters in the faith with whom I share the Lord's Day at Eastwood Christian Church (Disciples)!
Then in the Worship service Michael Lehman preached. His sermon, titled "Rich in Mercy", centered on Ephesians 2:1-10 (especially v. 4b), had some very well-considered points in it. He commenced with a roll call of several situations of scarcity that this present society is suffering. He contrasted these with "but God who is RICH in mercy. . . ." Among the negatives he then covered in more detail, is "sin". He defined sin as "turning away from God." I'm not certain that I've heard that definition used before, but it works. I definitely fits with the whole theme of Lent, and with Jesus" great parable of the forgiving father. This is usually called the "parable of the prodigal son", but like some English names for various Biblical parables and incidents it misses the focus or point of the story. (if you haven't figured it out, this parable is one of three in Luke 17 that illustrate the joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents and comes back to God, and the richness of God's forgiveness and mercy on repentant sinners. (Michael didn't refer to the parable, but he just a well could have!)
And let me tell you, this young man preaches with passion! Each sermon I've heard from him, I've been most impressed with how passionately Michael preaches.
Now, I had planned, since I'd received the refund, to go to Picadilly Cafeteria in Madison for Sunday dinner. But as I sought a church member who would be going in that direction, I ended up being invited to join the Agee family for dinner at Jack's Barbecue. The family and I had eaten at the one on "Lower Broad" -- the few blocks of Broadway that go up from the river front to the area of the Convention Center and Sommet Center. However, the Jack's we went to was in the northern part of the city, on Trinity Lane. The layout was different from the other Jack's but the food was the same. And de-e-e-elicious! Topping it off, I got the rare treat of conversing over the food with beloved brothers and sisters in the faith.
This being the Fourth Sunday of the month, in the evening I went to nearby Hart Street Church of Christ. Every Fourth Sunday this little congregation of African-Americans has a singing school prior to the evening worship. During the winter months I had attended this song practice may once, if that. But now that daylight time is in effect and the days are NATURALLY longer anyway, I was glad to be present and singing along. This was a sweet ending for a sweet First Sunday of Spring in A.D. 2009!