October 25, 2005

Sick and Tired

They're sick, I'm tired....

Shortly after I posted yesterday's blog entry, my wife called to let me know that she was sick and was coming home early from the preschool where she works. Since the school is a half-hour away, and since Tristan, 4, is a student there, she brought him home with her.

Throughout the afternoon, I took care of her, watched Tristan, and, later, helped Ethan with his homework. Ginger did allow me twenty minutes to go running, which I knew I had to do to keep my sanity, but I didn't get to shower until bedtime, some eight hours later.

This morning, I took Ginger to the doctor. Diagnosis: an ear infection AND a sinus infection. After she got her meds, I asked her if we could stop ever so briefly at a nearby hospital so that I could go in and pray with an elderly church member who's been ill for several months. She agreed.

I walked in to the hospital and made my way to ICU. The nurses there said that I was required to don a yellow paper gown, yellow gloves, and green paper mask. I wondered if I should even be in there, given the germs I've been exposed to at home, and I was all too willing to oblige.

I entered the room, and there was Jim. He was asleep. I gently woke him by grabbing hold of his hand. I didn't let go until I left. He couldn't talk, and I'm not much of a talker. Besides, the masked caused my glasses to fog up every time I did speak. However, I could tell he was glad I was there.

I held his hand, and we prayed. I prayed for healing and hope, not sure if either would come. I apologized for not being able to stay longer. Then I left, ripped off the gown, gloves, and mask, and ran back out to the car to take Ginger home.

As I climbed in behind the driver's seat, with my thoughts still focused on this wonderful man who, perhaps, might not have long to live (maybe he does, but who can tell?), Ginger said to me: "I just got a call from Chris on my cell phone. He says he got caught cheating on his history test. He also says he doesn't feel well and wants to come home. What do you think we should do?"

I've just been with a man who might be breathing his last breaths, and you're asking me about some stupid school test? Right now, I don't give a damn!

I didn't say that, of course. Instead, I just sat quietly, thinking these thoughts, and then thinking some more. (Sometimes my quiet thinking annoys my wife --- she thinks I'm ignoring her --- but it's how I process things.) For a moment, I pondered over whether this is the reason so many pastors I know struggle with their family life, because when you're ministering to someone dealing with issues of life and death, things like schoolwork and family conversations don't seem so important. But they are. They are every bit as important.

So we came home, picked Chris up from the high school, and now Ginger is resting, Chris is supposed to be resting, and I need to get Ethan to finish his homework. Oh, I also need to keep Tristan from wearing out his Halloween costume before next Monday. Tonight, after the kids are in bed, I'll work on my sermon, if I'm not too tired.

In this afternoon's mail, I received a card from a church member with a check inside for $200, "to assist in your caring for Chris," and a note of gratitude for my ministry. I am thankful for the money, and even more so for the prayers that accompany it. It's things like that that keep me going.... and BTW, tomorrow morning is an important meeting with the court investigator and all the "interested parties" regarding Chris' guardianship, so those prayers are needed....


reverendmother said...

Wow. So much going on.

God bless you and all those you love--family, church family and all.

Lorna said...

posts like this make me wonder if - just if -the RC rule of unmarried celibate (male) priests is actually the sensible.

too often my family suffers because I'm caught up in the live of a member of a church

and suddenly I'm supposed to be at home, at a school event, doing laundry, or whatever.

Blessing you and your family, and all of us too who struggle with the balance.