Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Pure Peace

Today was a day of unexpected twists and turns. I had my Monday all planned out when I arrived at my office. I'm not a "morning guy." But I arrived late even by my standards. It was about 9:45. I didn't feel too badly about it because I was in the prayer room praying and talking with a person who needed help until shortly before the big storm hit last night. So even arriving at 9:45 meant that I had only been gone from the office for about 12 hours before I was back. I didn't mind that. Pastor's live for the moment of crises. That is when we have the most influence and effect upon others.

But back to my point.

I spent part of the morning returning phone calls, updating a few things on the church web site, getting a relatively early start on next Sunday mornings message, and other minor details. My 32 ounce styrofoam cup of caffeinated adrenline was on my desk and being steadily drained.

Then the phone calls started coming in. Then more of them. Finally I decided that one of the really important goals of the day was to make contact with a 90-something year old woman in our church who is dying. She is hospitalized. And so I left the building and drove to the hospital. I left my Mustang in the parking garage in a a "Clergy Parking" spot and entered the building. Within moments horns started sounding, bells started ringing, and buzzers started buzzing. Hallway doors automatically closed and displayed signs saying "Emergency Status." Oh. Great. The elevators were shut down and the volunteers left their desks. I picked-up a house phone and dialed the operator. She gave me the room number I was looking for but warned me that I probably would not be able to get their until the undefined emergency was settled. Well, that didn't work for me. Their emergency didn't fit into my schedule. So I wound my way through back corridors, up seldom used stairways and eventually came out on the desired floor. In minutes I navigated my way to the room I was seeking. As I sat talking to a friend in the room I noticed that my elderly friend was looking at me. She was motioning toward me, calling me to her side. I got up and approached her bed. We began to talk.

"Are you ready to go home?"


"You know what I mean, don't you? I'm not talking about your house. I'm talking about the 'home' that Jesus went to prepare for you."

Her tired eyes gazed up at me. "Yes. I know. I'm ready."

"Do you realize that in a few days your Father is going to meet you? You will be introduced to Jesus. You will get to walk and run and jump and do all of the things you've missed? You can wade through crystal clear streams or maybe climb a mountain!"

A weak smile played across weary lips. "I'm ready."

I prayed with my friend. I told her I would see her soon. And I made my way back to my car.

You don't plan moments like that one. They just happen. I could have still been sitting at my desk doing some sort of administrative work. If I had done that I would have missed this priceless opportunity to bless. And it is a high and holy privilege to bless like this.

The rest of the afternoon fell apart. An assortment of "stuff" got in the way and I felt like I accomplished nothing of importance. But my friend lingered at the back of my mind.

And then at 4:00PM Debbie and I picked-up our son, Scott, at the train station. He came down to spend a couple of days before heading back to the ministry God has assigned to him in Chicago's suburbs. We drove to join my other son and his wife, Christopher and Laura. They were playing with our amazing grandson, Judah. And then we all drove together to meet up with the rest of our family for a wonderful 90 minute long meal that we share each week. My daugher and her husband, Kelli and Joe, were there with their daughters, Elle and Paisley. And my brother-in-law, Jim, came with his newborn son Anderson.

And then came the very best part of the day. Paisley. My precious Paisley. She's only 18 months old and she sat on my lap and watched her sister eating an ice cream cone. And then I realized ... Ron, you dummy. What are you doing? Paislely is WATCHING Elle eat ice cream! I asked Paisley if she would like some ice cream. She smiled and babbled incomprehensible words which, loosely translated, meant "Yes, please." And so I carried her up to the counter and we bought her an ice cream cone. And then we went back and we sat down and together we alternated licks for the next 15 minutes. And we giggled. And we dripped ice cream on ourselves and on each other. And I looked into the eyes of my granddaugher and I saw ... love. I saw happiness. It was ice cream. And it was grandpa. I never had the opportunity to know a grandpa of my own. But Paisley will. And as we shared our ice cream I felt it for the first time in a very long time .... pure peace. Thank you, Paisley. Thank you for slowing me down. For getting sticky with me. For giving me a reason to laugh. For reminding me of innocence. And pleasure. And a reason to look beyond myself and enjoy the gift of you.