I came to the stunning realization last night that I am indeed clueless. I have suspected as much for quite some time, but finally received real confirmation. At the conclusion of a meeting at church last night, one of the attendees mentioned that his daughter in law will soon be traveling from Texas to Minnesota to meet with a young widow up there. A little background information might be helpful.
This gentleman’s son died just over a year ago from a very unusual form of cancer. He left a wife and two young children. Their son began first grade yesterday and their daughter is enrolled in Pre-Kindergarten. The surviving daughter in law is an amazing lady. (That is actually the understatement of the year.)
She has been corresponding with a lady in Minnesota who also lost her husband to the same rare disease. Last night I was told that she is traveling up there to see this lady. In other words, she is going on a mission of mercy and mutual comfort. What a blessing these two ladies will be to each other. It will be a life changing experience for both of them.
When I heard this compelling news last night at the conclusion of our meeting, only one thought raced through my mind. I am clueless. No…I am totally clueless. I am supposed to be trained to provide pastoral care to those in crisis. I am supposed to get up every morning prepared to serve people facing serious illnesses. I go to bed at night knowing that I can be called out at anytime during the night to serve a family that has experienced an unexpected and tragic death of a loved one. But last night I realized I don’t have a clue what that is all about.
I have an uncanny ability to get bogged down in details. I lose sight of the big picture. I whine and complain. I quickly forget what is truly important. I go about my routines, but frequently don’t have a clue what should be the rightful focus of my attention. There are hurting people among me who don’t get the attention they need in the process.
I am grateful this morning for my friend’s daughter in law. She is a brave lady. She has chosen to look beyond her own trying situation and provide some credible encouragement to another person facing the journey of grief. She is my hero today. She has given me some important clues as to how to reengage the journey of service to others. Here are those clues:
• We frequently serve others most effectively during times of personal sorrow.
• It is important to go the extra mile. (Like trips to Minnesota)
• Common experiences (tragedies) draw us to people who were once strangers. (Sometimes it is good to talk to strangers!)
• Don’t let anything (like geographical distance) hinder us from reaching out to a person in need.
Last night I was clueless. But this morning I am feeling like I have found the path again. We all need to be jarred back into reality occasionally! Who is helping you to get get/stay on track? Who are your heroes today?
I was a stranger and you invited me in…Matthew 25:36