March is nearly over and I have written very few blog entries. There has been no shortage of interesting topics to write about. But the vast majority of the encounters I have had recently with people are intensely personal. It would not be appropriate me to divulge details about the private crises of those that I am privileged to serve. Confidential pastoral communication is actually a great thing.
I like to write, so it is has been a tad frustrating to refrain. But it finally occurred to me this afternoon that I have the privilege of entering people’s lives when the sudden torment of crisis strikes. I can go to bed at 11:00 and be called out at 2:30 in the morning to reach out to a family that has been affected by the unexpected death of a loved one. When I went to bed, I did not know them at all. By the time the sun comes up the next morning, I know that family better than some of their friends.
It is a challenge to enter a traumatic event and have to establish a rapport almost instantly. There have been times that I have failed miserably. I have been cursed and shunned. I have never taken it personally. In most cases, I am able to form a very positive bond with those in need.
There has been several of those situations develop in the past couple of months actually. I have met some really good people from all walks of life. Song writer Wayne Watson is correct when he says: “You know that pain has little mercy and suffering is no respecter of age or race or position.”
I can’t write about these people. I would like to though! I have learned from each of them. And they are fascinating individuals with unique stories. It is ethical to respect their privacy.
What I feel compelled to say is this: Don’t be afraid to reach out to a stranger. Someone within your sphere of influence could benefit from your kindness. You don’t have to wait until a crisis occurs. I don’t how many times I have been in someone’s home in the immediate aftermath of a horrible event when they told me they did not know their neighbors. Is there an elderly neighbor who could benefit from your friendship? Is there a troubled kid who needs to know that someone cares? Moving out of comfort zones and into new relational territory is a good thing. It is a part of celebrating the journey.