I did some Research

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Karen and Theo

The best decision I have ever made in my life, other than my response to God’s grace, was to ask Karen Koch to marry me, while kneeling on the brown, indoor/outdoor carpet of my apartment in the University Religious Center at the University of Santa Barbara. I’d made us crab-stuffed sole with what would have been a great cheese sauce, had I not forgotten to put in the cheese (!). But even with that omission, God be praised, she said “Yes!” There were lots we didn’t know then about the journey ahead, and it has been an amazing ride, but I began to see that year: In a beautiful way, Karen is a learner. She researches life.

Just yesterday, more than 35 years later, she came home from Costco with an item we had talked about purchasing online, and she began to say, “Well, I did some research…” I had to laugh, for I knew what was coming. She had found a deal! Looking back, “research,” that’s what Karen has always, wonderfully done.

She researched wedding planning, got books and organized the day.

She was a better student of scripture then I was back then, inspiring me to become one as well.  She lives a deep, vibrant faithful, prayerful relationship with God, from which I continue to learn.

In July 1984, I remember calling from my office as a travel agent in downtown Santa Barbara to her private phone in her school classroom to give her “the news.” The doctor had done “the test” and the results had come to me, then I was to call and say “yes” or “no” and she was just to receive this information, in her classroom, students present, and go on teaching her 9th graders. Yes, it was a brilliant but oh so naïve plan.

She answered the black, dial phone in her classroom (remember those?).

I said, quietly, on my end, not to be overheard by my office mates: “Yes, you are pregnant!” And she got so excited!

“Really?” She asked, squealing.

“Really!!!” I said, laughing in response.

She caught herself realizing students were listening in and couldn’t say anything more, but those kids knew what was up! She could hardly make it through class.

That afternoon on her way home, she stopped by the library and picked up six books on pregnancy and delivery, and when I got home later, Karen had already begun to read them.

That was a precious night, our small group met and we held close to our hearts this secret of a new life growing within her. She learned about the ways to best bless this growing child, and ate and exercised accordingly.

It was her desire for health and vitality that has led the way for both of us over the years being students of life both physically, spiritually and emotionally.

After that first daughter, Anna, arrived, followed in rapid order by her three sisters over the next seven years, Karen became a student of them as well. Having read many books on parenting, of course, but one that really influenced her was Olive Alexander’s book, Developing Spiritually Sensitive Children. Therein Olive spoke of making a house not “childproof” but “child interesting.” Olive had crawled around her own home to see what life looked like from the ground up and put colorful, interesting things low down and Karen did the same with ours. She became a student of our children, and taught me to be one as well, to seek to see life through their eyes, and help them love learning as well.

Karen was a learner alongside them as she homeschooled them all, and when others in our community discovered the treasure evidenced in Karen, they began to ask her to homeschool their children as well. One year, we had 10 students in our “one-room schoolhouse.”

She has been a student also of her own emotional/spiritual healing, a path that required 20 years of intense therapy, honesty, warfare and prayer. This opened her to deeper understanding of her own psychological wiring, which led her to become a student of the enneagram, collecting and reading many books on that approach to personality.

We’ve walked through many different approaches to eating over the years, as she has searched for the best means to good health. We’ve ground our own wheat to make bread, been vegetarian, vegan, organic, and gluten-free, you name it. Every one accompanied by research and study.

When Karen got ill 18 months ago, she continued as a student of her own body, researching the symptoms and learning what was going on. She learned how to massage her ileocecal valve, which I did not know existed, but that she discovered was getting stuck open in her! And she found ways to exercise her psoas muscle, again, I couldn’t have told you that existed either! She researched foods and discovered the fodmap diet which helped her gut heal. She researched and mixed essential oils to aid digestion, and sought the wisdom of a naturopathic doctor, a massage specialist, a physical therapist and her own MD, and through them all has found healing and is in the best health ever, on every level.  On the flip side, each of them has been blessed to get to know her!

Still she is bringing home new books, researching the best ways to pastor and lead in her congregation, while staying as fit and healthy as possible to achieve her goal, which now, ultimately is this: to be able to get down on the floor and play with our grandchildren!

I’m the lucky guy who gets to live with this amazing person day in, day out, learning to be a learner alongside her.

About Camino Way 2016 Shimer

On August 22, 1981 I married this wonderful woman, Karen, who has consistently blessed and changed my life and days. We are still in love, all the more with the years. We have four daughters, two sons by marriage, and three delightful, wonderful grandchildren. So, that makes me a husband, father, and grandfather all in those sentences. But mostly just a guy who loves my family. Today Karen and I planted beautiful plants in numerous pots. She had come home with the plants and that experience reminded me how much I enjoy simple things and simple pleasures -- like digging in dirt to plant a flower, like sunlight through glass on a spring day, like clean windows -- just washed ours today -- like a melody that won't escape from my heart. I've been a local church pastor for 30 years as of this June, a number that staggers me for I feel about that age on the inside, but clearly that's not the case. Back in 1988 I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary with an Mdiv-- a time of schooling that has been a foundation for years of ministry. But it is mostly in the building upon that foundation, that has most changed my life. I love people, love seeing Jesus work in people's lives. One of my favorite joys is to pray with someone through some horrible place of memory and see Jesus walk right into their memory world, and turn on the lights in a way that sets their soul free and brings healing. There's nothing like this privilege and I have been there to watch it happen more times than I can count. Between 4 and 7 the associate pastor of my family's congregation sexually abused me, first grooming me, then repeatedly violating my young self. This marked my life. It changed my bearings. It ripped at my faith. It wounded my image of what it meant to be a little boy, and later a man. It has been a point from which I have been in the process of healing for many years now. I'm a survivor, but more than that, I am one who lives beyond what was done. For in the middle of all that stuff, Jesus was calling me, speaking to me, bidding me to follow him to bring change to people's lives within the realm of the very office that was used to harm me. Only Jesus can make light from darkness, hope from despair, and healing from brokenness. I love Jesus. He really is alive, no matter what others may believe. And his life, his presence, his words into my world, his healing power have continued to be the foundation point of what it means to experience life to the fullest. I love writing. I don't really know why on that score for really writing has never been a central tool in my world, nor has it come easily. But I love seeing how words released heal. And I love the way words can connect me to other people's worlds. So, that's why I started blogging. It began because I was planning to blog on a weekly basis when I went to walk the Camino de Santiago last fall. And in order to be able to blog while walking, I knew I had to begin to practice blogging before I was in another country. A friend told me that. Friends are good to help us find ways to live more authentically into our daily lives! So, I started. But what I have discovered is there is something powerful about sharing the story of life with others. So, I have continued. And I love the connections being built through those words. In 2011 I experienced my first seminar in Simply the Story, a bible story telling method that involves those listening in discussion and I decided then -- "this is what I plan to do when I retire." But really-- "why wait until then?" -- so I use this method while I continue pastoring. It sets people free and allows the Word to take root in ways that preaching never has. So again and again I am practicing asking questions and that is good practice for me, because I am frequently better at "telling" than "asking." This has been such a freeing gift. I love training others in this skill. So, a storyteller would certainly be true of me too. Years ago I discovered my mission in life is "the joyful transformation of people's lives through the person of Jesus Christ." And that continues to be where I find my home base, in joy. Where there is joy, I find, there is Jesus, and there is the possibility of transformation. Of course Jesus is in places where there is no joy as well, and once He is there, the place kind of changes because of Him. I love that.
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2 Responses to I did some Research

  1. kshimer says:

    Well, my Shimes, what a surprise to read this! Thank you. I love you.

    Like

  2. Pingback: You must face your fears… | Dad4delight's Blog

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