The following story was written by Carl Carlson, a past member and lay leader of Good Shepherd. Carl wrote several stories about the building of the current sanctuary, which was completed in spring of 2001, and with which he was heavily involved. The stories not only share a glimmer of Good Shepherd’s history, but also connect faith and life in real, humorous and touching ways.
[By Carl Carlson] Note: The journey from planning our new facility to the dedication in May of 2001 was one filled with pleasant surprises and disappointing setbacks, challenging design issues and difficult decision, concerns over the unexpected problems and joy over successes that worked. The journey left its mark, not only on the physical facilities, but also on those of us who were working on the “inside” so to speak. This is the first of several articles which will share some of the “inside” stories about the building process and the design features of our new facility, and, also, some of the “inside” personal reflections of my experiences along the way.
“You have reached 884-2756, the home of Winston, Marilyn and Carl.” If you have called our home, you may have thought Winston was our son. Well, he is our 13-year-old Springer Spaniel, and our son Alan, is worried that Winston may be in Marilyn’s and my Last Will and Testament. As I write this, Winston is lying at my feet. He is totally deaf, has a severely damaged rear leg, turned pretty gray, and hobbles around with pain. On a couple of recent occasions, he ventured too far from our house at night and got hopelessly caught in brambles and bushes. We heard his mournful cries for help, found him in the beam of our flashlight, scooped him up in our arms and carried him home. I am sure Winston doesn’t fully understand our love for him and, how we sometimes weep when we think of his pain and impending demise. (Even Lutheran men cry, although we don’t like to admit it!) What has all of this got to do with the building process? Read on, please.
It was in early January of 2000, and thing were not going well with the plans for the new building. We had received some alarming threats of legal actions by engineering subcontractors over payment disputes (not our fault), our use of the construction drawings was in jeopardy, and we were in the midst of an ugly confrontation with our architect and headed for mediation. I felt the “load of the world” on my shoulders, and sleepless nights and a sickening flood of anxieties and negative thoughts were adding to my pain. Like my dog, Winston, I was caught in the “brambles.” I was the “man in the ditch” in the story of the Good Samaritan. I needed help. I needed a good Samaritan to reach out and share the load. One sleepless night, I realized that I was caught in the “brambles” and I cried out for help. I asked God to remind me that He was in charge, not me! You see, I am somewhat of a control freak, and a perfectionist as well – not a good combination in the brambles. God sent two good Samaritans to share the load when our interim pastor, Dr. Wallace, and our Council President, Randy Lentz, offered their assistance to me and the other members of the Building Committee. Through the next few weeks, our problems were addressed and solved and we were on our way to the ground breaking in February!
Like my dog, Winston, I cannot fully understand God’s love for me, how He must sometimes weep over my pain, suffering and ultimate death, and how He smiles when I experience joy and successes. He is always ready to search me out with his “flash light” in the dark and carry me home when I am caught in the brambles. All I need to do is recognize I am caught in the brambles and cry out for help!
Now you know the “inside” story. . . . . . . . .Carl Carlson