Tuesday, December 28, 1999

A Look Back at 1999: Field of (Broken) Dreams

In grade school I used to think about how old I would be when the millennium turned and I figured I’d be 28 going on 29. Now that time is here. Where have the years gone? I can now easily remember events that took place two decade—decades—ago. But I am here to focus on this last year, not the last 28. I’m doing this without the benefit of going through my journals from the past year, simply because I don’t feel like going through the trouble. So what is written here represents the things that stick out in my own memory.

In contrast to all my past essays—whose very titles always included the word change—this year had remarkably little change. There was a move, to be sure, but the stability that marked this year was unusual. For example, I held the same job all year, at Family Radio.

Speaking of Family Radio, I can’t be sure exactly when I became aware of how much the Statement of Belief issued by Family Radio in the fall of 1998 would effect me. It was either December of 1998 or January of 1999. The late date of all the changes that occurred caused me to say little about this in my essay last year. But there came that time in one of those months where I knew that I would have to sign to be a producer. And I chose not to. That led to me staying on in Network Control, eventually getting the full time overnight shift in the summer of this year. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

In the spring I was kicked out of the place I was living with the lesbian woman. Even though I was only looking for places to sublet in San Francisco, I found a place to live in Oakland. This was difficult for me because I wanted to live in the City so bad. So this was in many ways the end of a dream.

Come to think of it, I gave up a lot of dreams this year. I gave up my dream of being a producer, for either shortwave or domestic (this could have been December, but I’ll not nit-pick). I gave up my dream of being in the City. And I gave up the perfect swing shift offered to me.

It happened like this. In the summer I was moved to the swing shift just in time for Don, who worked the overnight shift, to quit. They moved me to his shift until they could permanently fill it. Right at this point, out of the blue, an idea, a question, that had been percolating in the back of my mind for a long time, came to the fore. I had to know what day of rest the Christian was commanded to keep. I knew that Pastor Innes taught rest on Sundays, and many church members tried to do just that. I had, in fact, been keeping a "Sunday Sabbath" for quite a while, and found it a great time management technique for someone overwhelmed with work and school.

Now I began my search in earnest. I read everything I could get my hands on, and asked lots of questions. I talked to Pastor Sneedin. I did Internet searches. And I finally visited the Bay Area Seventh Day Baptist Church, something I had been meaning to do for a long time and just had "never gotten around to." The pastor there, Pastor Steve, gave me Samuele Bacchiocchi’s book From Sabbath To Sunday. I spent many nights at work pouring over that book and contemplating its message.

Time was short. I had to make a decision, at least a preliminary one, before someone was hired or I would have to work Saturdays. (The shift I had been offered was swing, Tuesday-Saturday.) When I was more sure than not sure, I asked first that when I went to the swing shift, that I be given Friday and Saturday as my days off instead of Sunday and Monday. They said they could not accommodate me. I then asked to be kept on the overnight shift. (This shift was Sunday-Thursday night so it gave me the Sabbath off.) They said they had already hired someone and as soon as his training was complete, I would be transferred to swing. I was told this person could not work swing. That ruined the backup plan I had.

I spent many nights at work crying and praying that things would work out so I could keep the Sabbath. I felt God telling me to sit tight and wait for him. Less than a week before I was to start working Sabbaths, the news came: the guy they hired had not worked out and I could keep the overnight shift if I wanted. I was overjoyed! Though I do not like this shift, I feel it is God’s will for me at this time. That makes it a little easier.

Additionally, since the time I started working at Family Radio I have been moved from one department to another. This move to the graveyard shift marked my first permanent full-time shift in one department. I am grateful for that stability. (Last year I worked full time between two departments, three days a week for Karen, and two nights a week in Network Control. That lasted 8-9 months. This year I worked full time day shift in Network Control, but that was always understood to be temporary.)

Between my work schedule (8-9 months of working Friday and Saturday overnights, leaving me exhausted on Sunday), and people getting married, plus a dearth of pastors at Hamilton leading to a dearth of church-based programs, all added up to a big lack of fellowship. While I loved my church, while a part of me felt I should remain loyal, the need in my soul said otherwise. I wanted out.

I left at a time when two new pastors were just coming on staff and getting to know "the ropes." I left at a time, when, if I would have stayed just a little longer, I may have found a reason to stay. But the damage had already been done. I wanted out and the only thing that remained was to find the way.

I left for six weeks, visiting other area churches, looking for one to join. I thought God was calling me back to Hamilton, so in obedience I went back—for two weeks. That was about the time the SDBs entered the picture, and I left (for what turned out to be) for good. I did not leave over the Sabbath issue; I left over fellowship issues. My needs simply weren’t being met anymore. That may seem selfish. I defend it as self-preservation.

Since the time I began attending the SDB church, I have not left. There was a short transition period of about two weeks, but I was looking for a way out of Hamilton, and this provided that out. I dropped membership at Hamilton in August, and joined the SDB church in September. They are a small church and so the fellowship is wonderful.

I guess a wrap-up of this year wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Mike in passing. I really thought I was in love—actually, yes, I was—and I don’t know what fell apart or why. He only said that we had our issues to work on, and they needed to be worked on separately. He naively said he wanted to just be “friends.” I know that never works out and rejected that. That was early December and we have not spoken since. This is the first time I’ve "dated" (even if it was long distance—we met on the Internet) since I was saved. It is hard to have your heart broken. How do you forgive a brother in Christ for something like that? I dreamed of him being my husband. Now that dream, too, is gone.

After that lowlight of the year, perhaps I should mention the highlight: Charles’ visit in September, and his short layover at the airport two weeks later in October. He was here on business in September and spent a few days here. We got to spend real, good quality time together, the first and likely last time that will happen. But it filled a long-standing desire within me, the desire to spend some time with the dear man who led me to Christ. We spent lots of time talking and one day gallivanting around the City. I came away from that feeling satisfied. God has been gracious to me to give me that time with him, something so long desired, so long denied.

So here I stand wondering where the year went. It always seems so short by the time December comes. And I am also at the edge of a new millennium. What will the millennium bring? If the last year of the old millennium was marked by a lack of change, what of the new year, and—where I will spend the rest of my life—the new millennium? I am aware of the blessing of being alive at this time to see this new millennium come. And I know that whatever happens, whether there is much change or little in 2000, God will be with me through it all.