He gets me my drinks for free. I thought it was time you learned a little bit about the bartender in this pastor and bartender pair. When Jeff and I first met in 2003 (can it have been eight years ago?), I was drawn to the same things that still attract me to him. He is warm, friendly, and gregarious. He has a knack for making each person he talks to feel special. He makes new best friends everywhere he goes, including an Australian guy on a plane ride and many citizens of the town of Salisbury on our honeymoon.
In short, he possesses many of the gifts that God didn't give me. I'm that person next to you on the plane with her ipod on, a book open, and a look that says "please don't converse with me." I detest small talk - a special punishment for a pastor who is required to do it constantly. While our opposites-attract arrangement produces harmony and balance for the most part, it does also create some sticky situations.
Jeff and I met while we were working for the summer at the Mountain Tennessee Outreach Project. It's a rural, not-for-profit Christian agency, affiliated with the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church, in the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee. It is dedicated to social service programming through a philosophy of partnership in a faith-in-action classroom. (Any old-school staffers feel me on still having the Statement of Values memorized!? I think I hit all seven points.) This is a place that would be incredibly special and meaningful for both of us as we continued to work here, on and off, for the next five years. We were even married down the road at the Beersheba Springs Assembly by the Executive Director of the organization!
Jeff is a risk-taker, and he trusts people easily. He is optimistic to a fault. He loves to make people happy. For all of these reasons, he loves his job, but his dream is to open his own restaurant. This proposal presents a number of issues for me: I'm financially conservative and am terrified at the high failure rate of new restaurants; I already feel like we operate on opposite schedules; and I'm called to an itinerant ministry, which stands in opposition to the stability and longevity needed in a community to create good restaurant traffic.
As much as the thought of opening a restaurant together terrifies me, I also think everyone deserves a chance to go for their dream. I have had lots of opportunities to fulfill my aspirations, and my life feels a lot richer because of it. So, everyone reading now - you have to promise to give us your business when the time comes!