I’ve talked about her before. Pauline Miller.
I began ordained ministry in July of 1966, Assistant Pastor at St. Pauls Chicago, Northside, Lincoln Park, Fullerton Parkway. [Bet there’s no other St. Pauls with no apostrophe!] My first step in ministry, literally, was to visit an ailing church member, Pauline Miller, Grant Hospital. Pauline had had a massive stroke. She and I hadn’t met. Introduced myself. I remember she nodded and smiled.
Then. No matter what I asked her, Pauline had only one response, “I don’t know.”
It strikes me today, almost 53 years later Pauline’s answer is no less apt. For in truth, we simply cannot act in life, knowing exactly what we are to do or not do…and what the consequences will be.
That “I don’t know” came to me this Sunday minute when I read about a Football Coach at Parkrose High School in Parkrose, Oregon.
He is a hero. A student came into a classroom holding a rifle. The coach charged this student, disarmed him of the rifle, saving lives all around. I celebrate his response:
The “hero” football coach who disarmed an alleged gunman at an Oregon high school said Saturday he “put his life on the line” for his students because he didn’t have “any other choice but to act.”
Wow. “No other choice but to act.”
He didn’t take time to think. He didn’t take time to assess the risk.
He simply acted.
What about us?
Do we so calculate our every move that we become more manikin than human?
I sure hope not.
Not to be self-serving, but I have thought if a critical situation leaped upon where I was. I somehow KNOW in my heart I wouldn’t run, I wouldn’t hide, I wouldn’t dwarf. Not for a breath. I would act.
That’ not false courage. It’s simply who I am. If you knew Hank and Es Miller, you would not ask.
It doesn’t have to be a life/death moment.
Sometimes the gentle moments of the heart happen.
It’s been a joy to cruise around my shopping world and take pictures of whom Diane calls my “secular congregation.” I’ve mentioned them before. It feels so good to develop their picture and to return them “framed.” Ah, why not?
Why not for every single one of us? ”We don’t have to know.”. Pauline Miller was paralyzed by the stroke. But, that exchange brought me a great lesson.
Just because you don’t know…NO EXCUSE to not act when taking action has to happen. Our heart won’t let us do otherwise.