From the other side

One of the ineteresting part of our experience at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children a couple weeks ago was role reversal.  The vast majority of my experience in hospitals has been as pastor.  I visit with, indeed, sit with family and patients through times of uncertainty and discomfort.

Two weeks ago this morning, Rachel and I were on the other side.  There were no other families in the surgical waiting area when we arrived, soon after leaving our Eliza, our 18 month old beauty, in the arms (literally) of the Anethesiologist.  It was a quiet ride on teh elevator to the waiting area.  I felt like if I opened my mouth to say anything I would begin to cry.

Chris Mesa, Senior Pastor at Austin Avenue UMC, with whom Rachel works, was with us for this ride.  Don Scott, our District Superintendent was waiting for us in the watiing room.   Joel Robbins, a pastor and good friend of ours soon found us there as well.

The five of us sat and talked.  I remember a lot of laughter. I don’t remember whether or not we talked about the surgery or not.  I do remember not feeling like speaking would release a flood of tears.

Before we knew it, the pager went off, and Rachel and I headed for post-op for a report.  The time had passed so easily, so well, that it felt like no time at all.

I don’t know if my presence has ever provided anything like the kind of comfort that was offered to me.  I can only hope that it has.

7 thoughts on “From the other side

  1. Steve,

    First, I hope Eliza is doing well. Next, great example of the ministry of presence. We sometimes take it for granted because “being there” doesn’t feel like we are doing anything. But I do know from the experience of being “on the other side” that it helps more than words can express.

    Don’t underestimate the way God can and does use you in “being there” for the flock you have been entrusted with.

  2. Thanks, Steve. Eliza is doing well. She ended up not having to have surgery to correct her hip, though she is still in a spica cast for 12 weeks (only 10 more from today).

    I’ve never really doubtetd that ministry of presence is worthwhile, but it wasn’t until today that I realized having experienced it.

    • Yes, Gavin, we are on our way. Now we are learning the patience that being in a bodycast (or having someone you love and live with in a body cast) for 12 weeks teaches.

    • Wow. 19 years ago. I am reminded of what a seminary prof taught me about presence: “if you don’t know what to say, feel free to say nothing.”

      There have been many times I didn’t know what to say, and thanks to that prof and the grace of God, I haven’t.

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