Book ending by book ending I would catch myself feeling fueled and energized, perhaps even understood or at the least finally taught a way of life that made sense and lined up with the Story in the Bible. The book closing moments would also bring along another question: What was this guys life like as he was molded in life – like I’m being molded right now? Who did he read? Who influenced his journey and helped him pay attention to God?
The Pastor: A Memoir is that story, that journey.
I devoured the book. It took me four days and I savored every moment of it – each moment I could slip away or stay up a little later than I first set out to. Each chapter was a signpost to my own life and history – people Eugene knew were people I knew, they just had different names. Experiences and doubts were the same way. Small memories that somehow seemed so influential were somehow also like my memories. There I was, paying attention to God with us, God with Eugene, God with me and my family.
One of my favorite small story notes was about the year Eugene’s mother decided not to follow the culture’s consumeristic plunge into the Holiday season. (A lady much ahead of her time, I imagined.) Eugene wrote about how he missed his old Christmas tree that year – a Douglas Fir.
“Douglas Firs are the best Christmas trees,” my dad always seemed to say. We’d go to the mountains of southern Idaho to find ours. …and again, like Peterson, like my own experiences.
The beauty in these similarities isn’t that I feel like I have all these things in common with Mr. Peterson – it’s that the small and ordinary events in life are the fingerprints of God. We all have experiences and questions and relationships that shape who we are and if we’re given the time and encouragement we’ll be able to see God’s work in the middle of such things – God calling, God saving, God restoring, God sending – and all of this in Jesus.
The Pastor: A Memoir is going to be one of those books, already profusely highlighted, that I read again and again to help me remember this calling I’ve received – a calling to walk with God, to pay attention and explore the Almighty in the most ordinary of life’s adventures, and to walk beside others and help them do the same.