John Corson's Blog

WRITING & RANTING
for November 5, 2021

DRIVING ONE TO DRINK

So what has been happening lately? Well it looks like Janice and I are going to get in on a deal to have solar panels installed and be able to thumb our noses at the power company. Well, not really thumb our noses, but we are going to take advantage of having them installed while there is a $11,000-plus incentive offered by the Federal government and a couple thousand from the state of Virginia.

Yeah, it's going to cost a total of $52,000 minus the incentives and tax credits (rebates) I will receive to go toward the construction, installation and use of the panels. It is guaranteed to cut my electric bill to the cost of being hooked up each month - $8.23!

Even though the monthly payment of this project comes to $128.00 per month over 25 years, that doesn't compare to the winter and monthly bills of $190.00, which is guaranteed to go up each year until our power company (Dominion Energy) is not longer on any fossil fuel or nuclear energy which, by 2040 should bring the average energy bill for us (if we are still living) to $425.00 to $500.00 a month. Thank you Democrats!

So rather than living in the days of cave men and before there was electricity, we will go solar. Besides, when the government does order all houses to be retrofitted for solar or wind, the cost of doing so will be through the roof, maybe as much as $100,000 and then where would we stand?

The neat thing about making this move at this time is that 1) we won't have to refinance the house to pay for it; 2) no lean is put against the house, and 3) If we sell the house we can either include the panels as part of the package and when the house closes we pay off the solar energy company, or turn the monthly bills over to the new owners.

The representative will be coming back Tuesday evening to do the paperwork. I am on board even if Janice is apprehensive. When I show her that in the end we would be paying $136 and some change each month as opposed to $190, and that the energy costs will be doubling within the next ten years while our bill remains the same each month. She will get it and join me on board.

Yesterday afternoon, as I said in yesterday's blog, was spent on the Navigating The Storm website. I hope you have had a chance to surf over there to see it. It is a work in progress and I am becoming quite proud of it. I have a lot more work and updates to do, so don't think it is a finished product.

After Brian, the solar panel representative left last night, I went down to A.J.Gators and had a chef salad like I said yesterday that I would. I saw Brad, my son, working there as he has decided to work in the kitchen as a cook for awhile. I had two Lynchburg Lemonades and wouldn't you know, the second one knocked me off my feet. Well, not quite. The server, who works occasionally behind the bar, fixed them both and while the first one was made with even distributions of Jack Daniels, Triple Sec and Sweet and Sour mix, thus making it both sweet and sour with a little kick; the second one was more Jack Daniels, not sweet or sour, a little bitter but powerful. I actually was worried about weaving and swerving on the road going back home, but I made it with no problems.

But when I got home, I was in a slightly altered state of consciousness. I rather enjoyed to feeling of not thinking about my worries or petty concerns. I sat in the Living room and watched some TV, but mostly focused on news items on my phone and, yes, I was mostly conscious and aware of what I was reading.

I have written about this a couple of times before that I really don't and can't get drunk. I have actually tried and mostly I end up with indigestion, a headache and having to pee every four minutes. It's annoying and not very enjoyable. I don't drink that much to begin with and should just stick to the regiment of one 8 to 10 oz. glass of red wine for my "good" cholesterol (Hdl) each day. I don't know. I have seen and heard that a little "mind-bender" is also good to rise above the pitiful doldrums that one falls into when he feels he is running around in circles in a dead-end job. If you read any of my Sunday and Tuesday blogs, when referring to my church or my pastoring duties, you will understand that drinking, or smoking pot or even doing other forms of narcotics is an escape that becomes hard to ignore.

I sympathize with those who drink or do drugs in order to turn the mind off from the doldrums of a job. Some do it to run away from a failed or bad marriage; some because they are lonely; some because they just want to take the so-called "edge off." Some can't help themselves and just drink; many because they got hooked; a good number because they inherited the trait. The latter is the plight of the "alcoholic" and the drug addicted. I am neither, but I do like the escape.

I call it an escape because it turns my mind away from those things that remind me of my failures and my inability to change things that definitely need changing at church. Isn't it strange to say that my church, or rather, the ministry, is driving me to drink? An outsider would say that Christ is making me drink, or that being a Christian is making me drink.

I don't drink because there is some force pulling me into it. In fact, two drinks or more puts me on a path of indigestion, thanks to a hiatal hernia. Then, there is the after taste and finally, the downer that is coming off of it. It does help me to get to sleep and turns my mind off so that I am not thinking of pressing issues or the things I have to do in order to placate my folks, or whatever is coming along that I am not looking forward to dealing with.

There is no excuse to my actions. In fact, there is no excuse for my inactions, like not holding hands and going to see the old folks in church to let them know I am there for them through thick and thin and that they can rely on me day or night. There are only a few who take advantage of that and when they do, it is always to come to their house so they can chit-chat and talk about the roses or the falling pine cones that clutter up the yard.

I have mostly wonderful folks. But many see the pastor as a preacher and a sounding board for all the aches and pains of life. Just the last forty-eight hours, one lady in the church sent hour-by-hour text concerning her brother who went into the E.R. complaining of urinary issues and minor chest pains among other things. There being no rooms available in the hospital, he sat in the E.R. for over 30 hours before getting a room in which he stayed only one day. He had sepsis as a result of a urinary tract infection, had a couple of EKG and an echo cardiogram to check his heart. The whole time he was in the E.R. I could not get in to see him, nor would the nurses and workers there pass along my messages to him. You see, they were overworked - thanks to Covid, which is also the reason they wouldn't let me back to see him. Anyway, his sister (the woman in my church) was constantly blowing up my phone with text asking for updates and giving me updates as to what the other members of the family were trying to do to get in to see him.

It got so that I was expecting, any minute, a text saying that Donald farted. She was giving me the play-by-play and when she wasn't she was asking me if I had gotten in to see him. Donald is his name and he is not a member of my church, but I was asked a few weeks back to go and see him as he had a lengthy stay at another hospital due to major cardiac issues. Once I had done this, which I saw as a Good Samaritan duty since he had no pastor to go and see him, his sister (my church member) is expecting me to go and see him every time he enters the hospital. Now that is alright, but this past time it became a priority over many other things I needed to get done at and for church.

Well, yesterday afternoon, they sent him home. After he got home he tripped and feel outside of his house. Boom, I get a text. Five minutes later, Boom, I get another text: "We got him in his favorite chair. He seems to be alright, but we are going to stand by to make sure." Then, less than ten minutes later, Boom another text: "Donald is eating some supper." A half hour or less came another text: "We think he is going to be alright for awhile. He has just had a bowel movement and feels a lot better."

Now I sat and waited for another text and it didn't happen. I thought I was in the woods until she text another out about how his wife is doing through this process. She had had surgery about a week before to repair an aneurism and she thought it was time for the updates on her. I just got the one, but she also has her husband's nephew and an uncle with medical conditions. I got an update on each of them.

By the time I went to A.J. Gators, I was exhausting from reading all of her texts, not to mention the constantly nagging thought of what I was supposed to do on all of these occasions and situations. That's what pastors do; they ponder what to do for these people, and especially the one who seems to have every loved one in her life who is sick or hospitalized and in pain.

Did I ever spill my guts to you over the one time I was preaching in Illinois in a little town that was so small it was only there on Thursday Afternoons and a woman in the church called to tell me that her husband fell out of his recliner while sleeping and broke his pinky finger? She wanted me to come over at 11:00 at night to pray for him and help him decide if she should take him to the E.R. to get it set. I also had an elder lady there who called me about whether I noticed a dead cat in the road in front of my house and thought that I should retrieve it, find it's owner and bury it if I couldn't.

Oh, there are all kinds of crazy stories and most of the small town or rural pastors go through unthinkable things.

I prayed over and over again back in my thirties and forties for a church where I could have a staff, just an associate minister and secretary so I wouldn't have to do all the work. I have never had an assistant or youth pastor working under me, although I did have an intern once one summer and a part-time paid youth director who was only at church on Sundays and Wednesdays. That didn't last long.

And I have only had part-time secretaries. Small churches rarely need full time secretaries, but I have had enough work for one for thirty hours a week, but I have never been blessed to have one for more than sixteen. My secretary now works only eight hours a week - Tuesdays and Thursdays and what work she doesn't get done, guess who does it?

I have backed off of enough of my responsibilities because, basically, it isn't a priority what doesn't get done and, mainly, it would not be seen as necessary nor would it be appreciated. My folks don't care except to come to church and not have to do anything other than give an offering and listen to some music and a short sermon (a long one would make some feel like they got a month's worth and don't have to come back for four more weeks). The only other thing they expect is that proverbial hand-holding.

Well I have gone on about some of the same old things I complain about, so I had better stop, or I will be driven to drink - again! Before I stop, though, I saw this message on Facebook from one of those on my Friends list. He happens to have been the pastor at Windsor Baptist before my predecessor. He said for all the world to see: "Please pray for me, I am battling alcoholism." When he left Windsor Baptist he was out of the ministry for a few years as he was having marital problems. He came back but transferred over to the Methodist denomination and was preaching for a small UMC congregation for a while. I don't know if he is still preaching, but here he is, battling something that may, or may not, have been caused by the pressures of the ministry. I know the demands of the ministry did put a lot of pressure on his marriage.

I am not battling alcoholism, but I am in the midst of a very strong battle against despair. If that goes too far, it will lead to depression. One quick reason for this: The church expects me to visit everyone and hold hands with the elderly regularly. Not once has anybody in my church stopped by my house to see Janice or me. Not once has the deacon assigned to me come by or called to see if we could meet somewhere other than at church on Sunday. Now I know that visiting folks is part of my job description, the description given to me by the leaders of the church, not the Bible. Visiting folks is the job description of the Deacons - according to the Bible. But wanting to justify paying me for more than preparing and preaching a sermon, like in most small churches, the Deacon defer to me fall all of their responsibilities and therefore can justify paying me more than a guest preacher's remuneration.

I'm done ranting today. Janice will be home in a minute and I have to explain to her why we don't have an internet connection and the Verizon FiOS is out so no TV other than through a digital antenna. It seems that the electrician who was assigned by the termite company to hook up my dehumidifier under the house had done something to the coax or FiOS connection and I have to have a technician come out and trace the problem. He won't be here until Sunday Afternoon.

Until tomorrow for another time of complaining and sharing my disgust ...

Blog for November 4 Blog for November 6

Blogging

Blogs are about the blogger. It's as if he or she merely toots their own horns about the things they do, say and love.

My life is boring. I read, I watch Glenn Beck and Mark Levin. I listen to Andrew Wilkow. I engage in some conversation with those who are willing to listen (they being masochistic and enjoy killing themselves with my banter).

I plan on just laying out the things that bother me and the things I love. Nothing in-between. I hope you find whatever I put here amusing.