Many years ago, my dear friend Dr. Gloom (yes, he calls me Dr. Doom) once described his philosophy of life this way. “Life is tubular, baby.” I am not making this up. By the way, Dr. Gloom actually holds an earned doctorate. He may be crazy, but brilliantly so.

In his expanded dissertation on life, he explained that life is a series of eras, connected by little channels which help us get from one to the other. When he drew this diagram on his napkin, it looked like a bunch of oblong balloons connected by narrow passageways. The best graphic I could come up with is the picture of link sausage. It will give you the idea, even though there is little literary value in positing the notion: “Life is sausage, man!”

I can see we are coming to the end of an era now as we prepare to move to Richmond. From one point of view, we moved here to the beautiful Cumberland Valley to care for our aging parents and to launch our kids into adulthood. Both tasks appear to be completed. All five of our parental figures have gone on to their heavenly reward between 2003 and 2010. Both our kids are living in the real world and doing a great job leading productive and happy lives which honor the Lord. We are immensely proud of both of them.

In terms of ministry, we can look back and see a number of people whose lives have been impacted because of our relationships. We are grateful to God to see fruitfulness in many ways. These past several weeks we’ve had the pleasure of many of theses friends going out of their way to bless us as we get ready to enter the tunnel and the next era.

Today I found myself reflecting on what God taught me over the past 8 years. When I moved here in 2003, I did a strategic review of what God taught me during my 15 years in New Hampshire. The final lessons could not have been more clear – yet I fear I’ve spent the last 8 years learning those same lessons over and over again. Dang! How dumb is that? Over and over and over again.

God to Bruce: “Faith is caught, not taught.” “How long do you plan on preaching to the dead?” Jesus told his followers, “Let the dead bury their own dead.” Over and over and over again. No wonder my head has a big lump on it and aches. Hopefully, as I move into this new adventure in life, I will be more open to God’s desire to “Do a new thing” in my life, and I’ll let go of the old lessons I was supposed to have learned long ago.