PASCO -- I am writing this on Memorial Day, which seems appropriate as I find myself doing a lot of remembering.
That is because when you read this article, it will be on my 60th birthday.
I am part of that generation that did not trust anybody over 30, and now discover that they are us. During those pre-30 years, I could not imagine ever being 60; and eight years ago, following a diagnosis of a brain tumor, I did not know if I would see this birthday.
But here I am, and I still remember some things from way back when. I remember hula hoops, Frisbees, Herman's Hermits, Jan and Dean, Teen Angel, and the Beatles' When I'm Sixty Four. (My wife assures me now, if I make it that long she will "still need me and feed me." That is good news.)
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I also remember where I was when I first heard that President Kennedy was shot, and then the news he had died. We got out of school early, and when we got home we spent most of the next four days watching the coverage on TV.
While growing up, my parents made sure that I was involved in church. Most Sundays, I spent about six hours at church between choir practice, church school and worship in the mornings, and then returning for youth fellowship in the evenings. Since that is where most of my friends were, I didn't protest too much.
The adults were good mentors, though we didn't call them that back then, and I still remember Gary and Jane Jenkins, and Gordy Cameron. We even learned some things about God, and those things laid a foundation upon which I have built the rest of my life.
Writing those words is a bit surprising to me because at that time, when someone suggested I would make a good pastor, I strongly protested that possibility. Then in the fall of 1970, I had an experience which I later identified as similar to John Wesley's "heart-warming experience."
Over a weekend of activities I realized that I had an empty space in my life that would only be filled with the grace and love of God. I responded to the invitation to turn in that direction, and step by step followed God's leading into the ministry.
After graduating from Seminary, I served local congregations in the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church for 24 years, ending in Kennewick with a sabbatical -- and now disability leave -- following the discovery and removal of my brain tumor.
Through all those changes, one thing has remained unchanged, and that is God's grace and love that fills me and holds me. This became very evident over the last eight years as you prayed for my strength and healing.
God answered your prayers. I am here, and I expect to be around to make sure my wife will "need and feed me when I'm sixty-four."
* Rev. Doug Huston is a United Methodist minister on incapacity leave. He attends the Riverview United Methodist Church in Pasco.
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