A Pastor’s Life
The street lamps cast a harsh light on the salty road at 5:30 A.M. as I head to the hospital. The shadows move quickly on the snow made brittle by the cold morning air. Remarkably Rt. 9 is bereft of traffic. It is the morning after Christmas and most people are still asleep. Miraculously I never touch the brakes as every light is green, before the car slips into its parking space in the surprisingly empty parking garage. Hurrying into Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the glare of the florescent lights is matched by the already bustling crowd. Down the elevator to pre-op I meet Edie and her sister in time for a conversation, and a prayer that includes the chaplain on duty. As I leave the hospital I see so many people; some worried, some scared, some lonely, and many simply rushing to where they need to be, bleary eyed and anxious. Later in the afternoon Edie calls and says that all has gone well and she is resting.
Each month at the church is marked by visits, some early, some late, some painful, some joyous. Early in the month I got the blessing of visiting with Affi at MetroWest Hospital in Framingham to welcome their new daughter into the world. But also this month was marked by sitting with Lou and Joan in the loss of their son, Ricky. We planned the service, prayed and tried to find a way forward in the midst of such a painful loss. I had the opportunity to visit with Betty, and together with Dave we sang Christmas carols and talked about past Christmases, both good and bad (when you are 94, you have many Christmases to remember). Marge and I had a chance to talk, to remember, and to laugh as we noted the speed at which years now pass us by.
I had the chance to share dinner and fellowship with Richard and Vileroy early in the month. And to visit with Aeden and Jon to talk about matters of faith, school, music, and Bitcoin mining (I still have no idea what it is). I was able to bring prayers to Pamela’s family in the loss of a brother-in-law, husband, father and son. It was a very cold and rainy night, when my windshield refused to ever lose all its layers of frost and the road decided to form black ice. But the human spirit draws us together in times of loss and so we gather to pray, to talk, and to enjoy a meal.
I have spent many hours in my office after church in prayer, in conversation, in counseling, and sometimes just talking. We have eaten meals together and shared stories. I find that there is no end to the needs that we have, that there is never enough time in a day to meet them all, and at times just to arrive at the right place at the right time can be a challenge.
You might wonder what makes this all worth it. And my only answer to you is you! As I make my way to the hospitals, nursing homes, your homes and other places to visit, I see so many people lonely and lost, my heart goes out to all in need, but I know that God has called me to this place and this wonderful flock. It is a privilege to serve as your pastor. It has been a year filled with challenges, difficult issues, joys, spiritual growth, and miracles. I find strength in the faith we share together and in the love of God expressed by his Son who laid his life down for us and was raised from the dead to bring us extraordinary salvation. And like the warm glow of the candles on Christmas Eve, I find strength through each and everyone of us as we live out that love in our lives, in our communities, and with each other.
New Year’s Blessings Upon You!