Thursday, October 28, 2010

fifteen minutes

I pulled into the parking lot at 6:18 and was back in my car and pulling out at 6:32. Fifteen minutes of my time for the day was spent in the surgery admission area of the hospital this morning. I will spend more time digging through the pile on my desk today. I will spend three times that amount filling out budget forms. What does this fifteen minutes mean?

I spent a few minutes of my day in a vulnerable part of this family's day. They are stepping into fear, loss of control, and so many other emotions. Yet, for this moment in time, we stand in a circle and these people allow me into their lives. I get to speak to God on their behalf at this tender time. Many prayers have and will be lifted by each family member over the reason we stand in this waiting room. And I have the privilege of joining the chorus of voices.

This is what it means to be a pastor. It is not easy, it is sometimes uncomfortable and it definitely is not fun. However, sometimes it is the most important thing I will do with my day. Fifteen minutes before the sun has even appeared on the horizon.

My emotions call me to wish this moment away. For this family to not have to take that yellow card and check in at the desk in the middle of the room. Part of me desires to be able to pray away all the anxiety and be able to tell them "it is going to be fine". Yet, the truth is, I don't know what lies ahead. I don't even know what lied behind. I know this moment. I know God is in this moment. I know whatever is to come, God is there. For a moment I get to speak this truth into a life.
This is what it means to be a pastor.

I have no answers. I don't even really know the questions. I can crack a joke and we will laugh through the tears that fill some of our eyes. They will politely ask me questions about my life and I will answer. What does this fifteen minutes mean?
It means I get to be a pastor.

I may not get all the words right and it may be awkward at times. The family has a long day ahead of them in this building as I get to start my car and drive away. However, God is there and for that moment I get to be a part of it.
At least for fifteen minutes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

still processing

It has almost been 3 weeks since my airplane landed in St. Louis and I returned from my 8 days in Haiti. I wish I could process the experience enough to make sense of everything I saw, smelled and heard. However, I am still sorting through the pictures in my camera and the memories in my mind.
My family never talked much about social justice or the government's role in welfare. My mom just one day said, "we do not need more stuff and there are families in Springfield that do not have. So, we are going to give to others". I don't know if I have ever heard my mother talk about how the system is broken, I just have watched her give to those without. So, in turn that is all I know. I don't do well in a discussion about what causes poverty, I just want to do something to change a life. I may not always get it right, but my heart still strives to figure it out.
Don't get me wrong. I believe those discussions about how to fix the system is necessary and I am thankful for those that engage in the conversation.
However, when it comes to Haiti the conversation is overwhelming and the discussions could be endless. Answers would be difficult to find, if not impossible.
The election for President of Haiti is just around the corner. Is there a political answer to the brokenness I saw? I don't know. But somehow I think that Betsy, who carries water from the well to the shower/bathroom area in rural Mellier probably isn't going to vote.
It is about water that is not fit to drink, homes that are still in rubble and the grief that this country knows all too well after the January earthquake. It is about children that carry parasites that their little bodies may not be able to always fight off. It is about a young man that just wants the chance to continue his education.
And for me, it is about what can I do? Not my analysis of the situation or my opinion on whether the US money made it there. It is about the faces of children I cannot get out of my head and what can I personally do to help them?
So, yea I am still processing.