Monday, May 6, 2013

Putting it All in Perspective

All it takes is one hospital call.

There are moments when I hate this calling/job. 

It's not so bad when you are new to a place and don't know people very well, but spend a few years in a congregation serving with them.  Get to know them deeper than on the surface.  Bond with them.  Feel at home.  Feel like you are really and truly a part of the community.

And then go stand in a room with the parents of a two year old listening to a doctor tell them he is almost 99% positive their little, blond-haired, blue-eyed girl has cancer.  Watch them try to hold it together as the doctor explains the whats, whys, and hows.  Stand there as they begin breaking down, shed tears, and wonder what the future holds.  Watch their anxiety soar through the roof of that hospital.

Then, stand as grandparents enter, and the news is broken to them.  See grown men grow teary eyed work against all that teaching received growing up--"Be strong.  Be a man. Be tough."

How can you be tough when your daughter, your granddaughter is facing a threat like cancer?

How can you be passive when you know she will have chemicals induced into her body, make her sick, cause her hair to fall out, and weaken her immune system?

I hate watching this kind of stuff.  I absolutely hate it!!  It's easier when you don't know people.  You can be detached.  But when you know people, and you love ain't easy.

There are moments when I hate this calling/job.

And as God's particular spokesperson at that moment, you know there is really nothing to say.  God's mysterious silence mirrors your own silence.

You don't know why.

You don't understand why.

You don't have any clue or any answer.

But you cling to hope.  It's your job to hold on tightly to that ray of light, and then try to point it out to those around you.

"Pardon me for continuing to make a joke or two.  Pardon me for smiling in the midst of all this.  I am not trying to make light of the situation at all.  But it is my job to remind you of hope.  It is my job to remind you life isn't stopping.  It's my job to remind you that even in the midst of this horrible news, God is still here."

"I'm glad you are here to do just that."

There are moments when I love this calling/job.

People need hope.  Even when hit with such news.

It puts things into perspective--a perspective that all too often we lose. 

We love to argue about insignificant things.  I mean, what difference does it really make whether or not a church service is conducted with organ music or with piano?  What difference does it make whether or not the flowers on the altar are real or artificial?  What difference does it make whether or not the cleaning lady missed emptying a trash can?  Who cares if the umpire called a strike when it was a ball?  Who cares if the ref missed a holding call?  So what if the best player on the team missed a last second jump shot for the win?  So what if the Democrats passed a law and the Republicans are holding up the process or vice versa?

Who really gives a damn?

Not those parents and grandparents who I was around today.  They could care less.  All they could care about was whether or not their little girl would survive this threat to her life.  All they could care about was whether or not their prayers and the prayers of their church family and friends would be effective.  All they could care about was the reality of doctors and hospitals and treatments for the next several years. 

Death and life.

Cross and resurrection.

Despair and hope. 

Put it in perspective. 

Remember what's really important.

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