When I was a seminary student, I had one of my first clinical placements at DeKalb General Hospital in the emergency room on Saturday mornings. I was called a “patient representative”, but I functioned like a chaplain, assisting staff and patients and their families in communicating what was going on with the admitted patients to the emergency room. I saw everything, and as a sheltered 24 year-old, I was overwhelmed. After leaving the ER one particularly horrendous day filled with tragedy after tragedy, I stopped at the grocery store on my way back to my apartment. I had seen situations that day where life seemed to be going great, but in a moment altered people’s lives completely. I watched a mother and child come out of the grocery store and go to their car, following their normal routine, and thought about how quickly even their lives might change. I realized that we are not really in control of life, and it helped me to focus on the only anchor I had in an ever-changing world: God’s love and the strength of support we receive from the people in our lives, and in particular, the community of faith. That day in the ER, I stayed with a wife whose husband had burned over half of his body with flash back from a gasoline fire. She had driven him over 30 miles with him screaming in pain to the hospital. I watched out for her during the agonizing hours as she waited by herself to hear of her husband’s fate. She was very appreciative of my support, but the moment her pastor walked through the glass doors of the emergency room, I could see from that lady‘s face that the minister represented a lot more than just a familiar face. Suddenly she was not alone. Her church family was with her. All of those prayers were with her. That was the moment I knew with a certainly that there was no more important calling than representing that community in ministry.
Over the last few weeks, life has definitely not gone as I had planned. If you had asked me at Christmas what I expected to be doing in January, it was not spending three days at Piedmont Hospital. But the community of love has gotten me through it all. I am so grateful to you all for your prayers, patience, support and care. I will slowly be returning to work, but I still am under the surgeon’s care for another two weeks. I am beginning to do office work and will come into the office a little this week. I am so grateful for your patience. You have stepped in and seen that members were supported during crisis in their lives. No matter what twist life throws at us, I am so grateful God is there every step of the way and I have such a loving church family, good friends and sister, a thoughtful district superintendent and pastor friends as well as a great secretary.
I will be back in the pulpit Sunday. See you in church!