Posted in Ministry

I forgot.

Photo by Anne Zwagers on Unsplash

I forgot.

I just totally, completely forgot. The next morning, I glanced at my calendar and realized I was a no-show for an appointment I made with one of my homebound members several weeks ago. I made the appointment. I wrote it on my calendar. I was aware of it on Monday when I looked over my week. I was also aware of it on Friday when I realized I hadn’t gone.

I never do that. I never miss an appointment. I never skip out on a commitment. Never. What in the world is going on? Here are some possibilities.

  • I’m getting old. Starting to forget things. Do I have to go there? No, this is my blog. I’ll write about that when I’m ready. Unless I forget.
  • I got too busy. I wasn’t home binging on Netflix. I went to a rehab center to visit two members and then on to a hospital to visit another who had just had surgery. I needed to be there, too. Not a great excuse. Just an excuse.
  • I got sloppy. I didn’t set an alert on my calendar. I didn’t write myself a not the night before. I didn’t check my calendar that day. I just kind of slid into the day without checking in with myself.
  • I got distracted. By Advent. Christmas. Helping some guy I didn’t even know get a hotel room. Facebook. Twitter. Reddit. YouTube. Facebook.
  • I’m human. Oh no, I don’t like that one. I aspire to walk on water, turn water into wine, cast out demons and shut down the devil. Only problem is, I strike out over and over. And I don’t like that one bit.

Not long after I looked at my calendar and realized I had blown it, I got an email from the family. They apologized to me for not confirming the appointment. O not you don’t. This was my fault. I apologized to them. They graciously forgave and rescheduled. We’ll get 2018 off to a good start. With a clean slate, a clean conscience, and an overdue visit. And I set three alerts for that appointment!

God’s grace is indeed amazing. But sometimes, yours is pretty amazing, too. Thank you.

Posted in dying, Life, Ministry

You need to hear it again.

silvestri-matteo-176500The call came pretty late last night, about 10:45. I was driving, and felt my phone buzz in my pocked, but didn’t listen to the message until after I got home. “She said she thinks he’s dying.” I only live about a mile away and I didn’t want them to be alone, so I headed over to the apartment.

When I arrived, it was and it wasn’t what I expected. I’ve been with many people in hospice care for the last days and hours of their lives. I’m familiar with the shallow, irregular, rattling breathing. I just didn’t think it would happen this soon. Just hours earlier, he had been awake, conversant, signing his own documents and deciding to come home from the hospital. Hospice hadn’t even been to the house yet, and it looked like he’d be gone before they even arrived. He wasn’t conscious, but he also didn’t seem uncomfortable, which was a blessing.

A few more people arrived. All we could do was wait. Wait for a call back from hospice. Wait and wonder whether it was a wise choice to come home. Wait and pray, commending him to the Lord’s care.

With her encouragement, we left about 12:30 pm. She knew who to call if anything got out of hand. When I called back this morning, I learned he had died about an hour after we all left. Her words to me on the phone were, “I know he’s with the Lord. I just hope God accepts him.”

Without hesitation, I replied, “I have no doubt! He had faith in Christ. We just talked about that the other day when I brought him communion, He was forgiven. You don’t have to worry about that at all.”

“Thank you so much. That’s just what I needed to hear.”

If you know me at all, you know I talk about that all the time. Maybe when you’re sitting there on a Sunday and life is pretty good and you don’t have too many worries, it doesn’t register. But when the breathing stops, you feel all alone, and reality kicks in, it suddenly becomes an issue. So, you need to hear it again. If I can, I’ll be there to make sure you do.

Lately it seems like I’ve been spending a lot of time with people who get hit with stuff over and over again. What do you do for someone when the cancer keeps coming back? Or the headaches? Or the strokes? Or the flooding? I’m humbled knowing I don’t have a whole lot of answers. But I get to bring Christ, and he gives more than we ask or imagine.