My Last Trip for the United Church of Christ-
In my previous post, I wrote about working part time for the Division of Evangelism and Church Extension for the Board of Homeland Ministries of the United Church of Christ. Today, I would like to share with you my last trip for the United Church of Christ. Typically, I would travel one to two weeks each month. The night before I would fly out I would spread my suitcase in the living room on the floor. Meticulously, I would make a series of trips to the suitcase, counting out and organizing the clothes I intended to pack for the trip.
In our fifth year of marriage our first son, Nathan, was born. We lived in a third-floor apartment that had a loft that we used as a second bedroom for guests. I began traveling for the United Church of Christ two years before Nathan was born. The first trip I was scheduled to take was the January after his first Christmas. Nathan did not talk until he was three years of age. He was a calm child who did not cry much and went to sleep on schedule every night. Sometimes he would fall asleep around 7 PM and sleep all night long. We wondered if there was something peculiar about him sleeping so much, but his doctor, Dr. James Collins assured us he was ok.
The night before my last trip, Nathan saw my suitcase and crawled into it. He had on a Christmas jumper-onesey, with a matching stocking hat. Even though he could not talk, he climbed into the suitcase, smiled and just sat there. It was if he was saying, I know what it means when the suitcase is open on the floor – my dad is getting ready to take a trip. It was one of the cutest images I have ever seen. I found my camera and took his picture inside the suitcase and said to myself, “This is my last trip for the Church.” I made the trip and fulfilled my obligation to the Church and informed my boss that I was finished.
Working for the national church was one of the richest, tremendously meaningful and fulfilling experiences I have ever had. The relationships that were kindled during that three-year period continue to this day. My appreciation for the work of the national church is fuller, but at the same time, my sense of priorities as a father, husband and pastor were also defined during that three-year period of my life.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photos by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III and Judge Denise Page Hood
Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III are available at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/