I’m not writing much about my time as a youth pastor in Vacherie as it’s not really pertinent to the story. However, suffice to say the whole time lasted right at about a year, maybe a little less.
I really enjoyed working for Pastor Larry Youngblood. The people I met at the church were awesome. As a first time youth pastor who had never really been a part of a youth ministry growing up and really didn’t know what one was “supposed” to look like, I really couldn’t have asked for a more supportive senior pastor.
Around Thanksgiving of 2007, Pastor Larry called me into his office. The words he said were almost identical to those I got from Eric, my Chi Alpha director, just a little less than two years earlier – “Love you. Think you’re great! Love having you around. I just don’t think you’re called to do this job.”
I have to say, those were much better than the words I got a couple weeks later from one of the students, which was basically: “You’re the worst youth pastor we ever had. I’m glad Pastor fired you.” Or, something to that effect. I might my paraphrasing slightly.
Either way, Pastor Larry was gracious enough to allow me to stay on staff until the end of December to find other work, which really didn’t take very long. I was able to make a few phone calls and, after sprucing up the resume and going in for an interview, was actually able to get back my old college job at South Central Planning. This was a little unexpected to me and, in a way, felt like a “step backwards” – but, I thought, it would be a great temporary job until I figured out what I really wanted to do with my life.
At this point, I was 25-years old. And, the best part about being 25 is that you are still spontaneous enough and flexible enough to not be absolutely terrified of these huge life changes. I have to admit, that this second huge failure in my life did get me down for several days, maybe even weeks. But, I’ve always tried to live my life recognizing the Sovereignty of God, and believed that when He closes one door it is only because another one will soon be opened. Again, being 25, and going through this time of transition, I thought – why not add one more crazy variable?
I bought a ring.
December 25th. Christmas day.
It was time to do something crazy.
Molly was coming to visit for Christmas that year, as she had the previous one. Her family always had it’s get together on Christmas Eve. I had asked her if she wanted me to join, but she politely informed me that Christmas at the D’Avys was for family only. If I ever wanted to join in, I would have to marry her first.
She should have been more careful with her words.
Through the 1990’s and 2000’s, my Dad’s family got together every Christmas to have our annual White Elephant Celebration. It was always tons of fun. And we always fought over that re-gifted foot spa that seemed to float, unopened, from house to house for years.
This year, I placed a very special gift under the white elephant tree.
It certainly was a risk. But I thought the potential payoff was too good to pass up. Maybe I should have done something romantic. Taken Molly to dinner at a fancy restaurant? Serenaded her with some originally written song? Found some moon lit meadow? Something else?
But no, I went with this. I entered her ring as my gift in the White Elephant game. I figured all was good unless someone picked the ring first. And even then I was probably okay, unless it was stolen three times and locked before it got to my turn.
The numbers were passed around. I glanced at mine. For the first time ever, I had Number 1. It was all beginning to line up.
Everyone had their numbers. Number 1 was called. I got up from my chair and walked to the tree. I found the gift I brought and picked it up.
My cousin Amy shouted at me: “No fair! You can’t pick your own gift!”
I denied it was mine. She swore she saw me place it down!
“Too late,” I said. The wrapping paper was removed.
“Wait?” I said, looking at the box. “Amy’s right. This isn’t for me.”
I walked over to Molly, got on one knee, and held up the opened box.
What felt like a couple minutes went by. She didn’t say anything, only looked at me and looked at the box.
Finally, she said, “Was there something you wanted to ask me? Or are you just kneeling for the fun of it?”
“Oh, right! Um, do you want to marry me?”