Heartsick we nursed along the way we picked up
You may not see it when it's sticking to your skin
But we're better off for all that we let in
Last week, I went on my first pastoral visit, as part of my field ed. A man who has been attending our church recently had outpatient surgery, so the curate and I went to visit him at his home. We had a very lovely visit, and stayed for over an hour, spending time with him and his mother-in-law. We talked about the surgery, his family and his work, he asked about my call to ministry, he showed off a present he'd received from one of his daughters. It was absolutely charming and wonderful - a great first visit. He sent us a really nice note thanking us for our time, and enclosed a copy of his family's Advent letter. It was our conversation that sparked my earlier post about finding grace in difficult days. Towards the beginning of our visit, he said that although he liked our worship very much, it was likely he wouldn't be there this past Sunday because our building is so (shamefully) inaccessible to folks with physical handicaps. But he managed to make it anyway. It is really an amazing thing how relationships are begun with a simple thing like having coffee in someone's living room.
So much promises and work left undone
When all that guards us is a single centerline
And the brutal crossing over when it's time
Unless you really don't follow the news at all, you have undoubtedly read the story of the Lefkow family. Its a horrible tragedy, and I tend to be affected by this kind of thing anyway. But, in case you haven't guessed, Michael Lefkow was the man I went to visit last week. Although his family are members of St. Luke's in Evanston, Michael had been attending church at my field ed site recently. Clearly, I didn't know him well, but it is a strange experience indeed to have spoken cheerfully with someone on a Sunday morning, only to read the paper on Tuesday with such hideous headlines. My heart truly goes out to the Lefkow family and all those who knew Michael and Donna. I hope and pray that they are someday able to find sparks of grace in such deep darkness. I am trying to be thankful that we were able to spend a brief time with Michael, and that we were able to find a moment of grace in the beginnings of knowing one another, even if it does mean more shock than I'm entirely sure what to do with for this week.
And I don't know where it all will end
We're better off for all that we let in.
*italicized lyrics are from All That We Let In by the Indigo Girls, my perpetual source of words when I have none