(I started this post a little while ago, but with my travel, wasn’t able to finish it until now. Interestingly enough, I’m finding that what I’m experiencing now is an extension of what is in this post… I’m thinking there will be a “part 2 to this…)
The last couple of weeks have been pretty intense (2 sermons, 6000 miles, 4 planes, 2 hotels, oodles of meetings, and one great performance by Tahira The Pure | Dance Theatre). The next few don’t show any signs of slowing down.
In the midst of this, I received a call from a good friend, letting me know that her father was in the hospital, and it was pretty serious. Her father has been a mentor and inspiration to me from the very moment I met him. There are very few people that are authentic as he is. I knew I had to visit him, if for no other reason, just to honor this man that in many ways I want to emulate. I also felt that it was an opportunity for me to minister to him… at least, that’s what the expectation always is. People in the hospital, or in dire circumstances need someone from the “outside” to cheer them up, give them hope, and help them to go on with life. Not saying it is not true, but in a lot of situations, it so narrows the scope of what ministry is, or can be. This was the case with my friend’s dad.
I rolled up to the hospital, pretty much expecting the worst, yet in the back of my mind, I really should have known better. I toyed with the idea of taking my bible, so I could have some inspirational stuph to read, fulfilling my role as a minister and such. I figured he would have one of his own in the room, just knowing him. I decided to take it just in case, and headed up.
Visitors were limited, feeding into my thoughts of him being in the worst possible situation. Not only that, but I had to wear the facemask, so all of this was confirming the idea that “I” was going there to help “him”…. I couldn’t have been more wrong…
I walked in the room, and this man was smiling, making jokes, and looking like his old self. If it weren’t for the tubes and stuph beeping every now and then, you wouldn’t know there was a thing wrong with him. Was this the same man that was literally at death’s door a couple days ago?
He recognized me right off, and then the ministry, encouragement, hope and stuph happened… but not from me to him. He did as he has always done. Mentored me without knowing it, showing me what a life of faith is, and giving me a picture of a life of no regrets. He reminded me of Paul, who said “if I go, it’s great for me, but if I don’t, it’s great for you”. For him, he was with his Lord, regardless of whether it was on this side of “the river” or that side. I would say he talked my ear off for a good 30 minutes, about how great he was doing, about how God was taking care of him, and then turned to me and said “Ken, I want to hear about you! What’s going on with you?”
I was speechless… thinking of the comparatively minor battles I had been facing, I just got a lesson in perspective. Truly, it would be something that would continue for the next few weeks. I told him a little of what was going on in my life, but that I wanted to shut up and hear him.
The conversation continued, and we both benefited from it, but I would have to say I received the lion’s share. He might disagree, just because he is like that – very humble and giving.
Perspective… it’s a wonderful thing, or at least can be. If a man, strapped to a hospital bed with tubes all over the place can be thankful about where he is at, and not let that slow him down from being the man he knows he is to be, how can I look at my life and have that same freedom and thankfulness?
I’m willing to learn…