I was out catching up on my visits to homebound members today. I caught up with Janet (names modified for this post) at her nursing care facility at the end of her lunch hour. She greeted me warmly and immediately said, “Rex (her elder) came to visit me yesterday and he brought me candy!” I replied, “I’ll bet you all wish he came to visit you more often!”
Just a few weeks ago, the mother of a member died and I stopped by to visit. I texted ahead and said, “What can I bring for you?” She didn’t respond. So I thought,”What can I bring? I know! M&Ms. Who doesn’t need M&Ms?” At the time, they were a minor part of my visit. But when her mom’s pastor stopped by, Sandy mentioned, “My pastor brought M&Ms!” Gooooooal! I felt pretty competent at that moment.
Over the years I’ve brought many things to my homebound members. Word and Sacrament of course. But I have also brought lunch from local restaurants: mostly Subway and Chinese takeout.
My best delivery however was a half-gallon of vodka. I know, that deserves some explanation. Karen lived in an apartment by the beach, and her alcoholic landlord lived in the same building. Just before I left the church, I got a call, and Karen asked me to stop by the liquor store and get the cheapest half-gallon of vodka I could find. She would pay me when I got there. If Dave (her landlord) didn’t have his vodka, there would be hell to pay and she was hoping to avoid that. I don’t especially care for vodka, so it was the first and only time I’ve purchased it, and certainly the only time I’ve been in a liquor store in my clerical collar. The guy at the register didn’t even blink, which is a troubling. How many clergy had he served that day?
My second-best delivery was a bag full of prescriptions medications for Karen. When she asked me to stop by the pharmacy, I said, “Sure, I’ll pick up come meds.” It turned out to be about twelve medications! She had described me to the pharmacist, so he immediately knew who I was and loaded me up with all of her pills. Since she was on Medicare and Medicaid I think I had to pony up $3.00 for her meds.
So if you need anything and I am coming to visit, just let me know what you need. I’m on it. (BTW, they didn’t teach me anything about this at the seminary!)