Thursday, December 3, 2009

Early Morning Privileges

My alarm went off at 5:30am this morning. While I realize this is a perfectly normal time for a lot people I know, including my husband, it is pretty darn early for me. My excuse is that I used up my lifetime supply of early mornings during the two and a half years I worked for Starbucks (when the store opened at 5:30am and we had to be there at 5am, which meant I got up at 4am to shower and get there on time...). As painful, and cold, as it was this morning, I was glad to get up. An eight year old member of the congregation I serve was scheduled for surgery, and he and his parents were to be at the hospital at 6:15am. I got there about 6:20. The coffee cart on the first floor had yet to open for the day - you know you're early when you beat the coffee lady. There were three or four nurses on the surgery floor, walking with purpose from their station into rooms with curtains pulled for patient privacy. They asked questions, took blood pressures, checked temperatures, and made sure all the information was correct - so much activity happening in those lighted spaces, when the world around was still sleeping and covered in darkness. I witnessed the beginning of the pre-surgery routine: child patient in gown and reclining in the bed even though he was ready to bounce off the walls, nurse in and out of the room, parents smiling for their son and trying not to let their concern and worry show enough to concern and worry him. My young friend introduced his parents to the nurse, and introduced me as "our pastor." I have never been happier to bear that title. I hope he knew that I was there for him, and for his parents. We joked, talked a little about the procedure, and then we prayed one of the most heartfelt kinds of prayer - we knew we weren't in control, we asked for God's presence, we prayed for the blessing of others and their skills, we asked for the gift of trust and hope, we prayed for healing and health. His parents thanked me over and over for getting up so early, for being there. I said "you're welcome" as a reflex. And added, "It's what we do. It's who we are. And it is my privilege to be here." I never cease to be amazed at the access people grant us pastor-types into their lives, to be witnesses, to be signs of God's presence among us, to represent the family of faith, to help find the words to give meaning to the best and worst times. What a privilege. *the surgery went well and my friend is on the mend. Wahoo!

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