An update and a commentary:
As you can appreciate Jason’s road to recovery has good days and days difficult with heavy challenges. One of the nurses, Suzanne, whom I’ve mentioned previously, shared with me, after more than fifteen years a nurse in ICU, “Mark, you and Diane bring the best medicine…you are here, you care…not only medicine for Jason, but for all of us. It means everything to be appreciated.”
What Diane and I appreciate, beyond words, is how many of you pray for Jason [and us!] and send notes or make calls. It means the most, and we have shared with Jason all the prayer warriors…who help us with the fight for healing. We thank you…every day…every day.
Ah, there it is again, the importance of gratitude.
As I head to the 52nd anniversary of my ordination, this June, and have concluded my preaching and pastoral care for the wonderful folk at First Christian Church in Lexington, it has become clearer what the most significant reality in being a pastor is [not that it’s exclusive, but certainly prominent to and for me] is to be what I have called these years a “pastoral presence” or “caring presence.” To say something, to do something, to be present to needs, often times they arrive unexpectedly.
A silly example, and yet it’s not. I shopped yesterday and got some pumpernickel muffins. The clerk said it was a 2 for 1 sale. He added on a blueberry package of muffins. Not that I needed them. Ah, truth beckons that more muffins is a dear friend of my diabetes. But, politeness took over.
Went to my car, asking myself, “I have to gift these.” Just as I opened my car, a gentleman parked next to me. “Sir, may I ask you a personal question?” Having some trust, he nodded no he didn’t mind. I asked him if he liked blueberry muffins. Wow. Couldn’t have guessed more accurately. Felt good to pass on some of the calories. I know…why did I get the first package in the first place? Will deal with that later.
One other note. I learned earlier this week that my first order of the new novel, “Truth Uncovered” has been shipped. Once they are in hand I’ll post a full notice about my hero’s latest adventure. For Tricia Gleason the venue is Tillamook and as in her previous five novels, she’s fully challenged to balance life, ministry, fishing and murder. As I’m fond of saying, more on the late news.
Finally. A difficult postscript. Pastoral care is the prime essence of effective ministry, as this column began. What dismays is when someone talks a good game of caring…but the deed never happens. What I call deedless words. My dis-ease with that from others is strong, but it is what it is.
Oh, a better postscript, one that prompted this blog…I read this morning about Pope Francis officiating a wedding on a flight. Read the link. What he did is realize in the situation how he could be caring. Loved the dynamic and hope that after you look through the window of what he did, turn the window to a mirror and see today how you can be a caring presence to someone else. Deal?