Monday, February 2, 2009

Who do you love?

I'm old enough that blogging does not come as naturally as talking on the phone and I am a private enough person that I don't bleed everything that is happening onto the net without thinking about it first. So I have been away for a bit taking care of family business.

What business, you ask? My 82 year old father had a stroke up in Columbia, Maryland. Fortunately his grandson and daughter-in-law live with him, and even more grace filled was their decision to get a dog. The dog likes to chew pens, so naturally everyone puts their pens where the dog cannot reach them. When the dog showed up with a pen from my father's desk, they knew to check on him. And so, 911 was called. Another reason to be a dog person (not that I needed any more!).

He's been in the hospital, then to rehab, then back to hospital for a pacemaker after his heart slowed, and now back to rehab again. Fortunately there is family in Maryland, but I still needed to go up and see how he was doing. His left side is struggling but he can lift his arm and leg and has begun walking short distances with a walker. Speech is rather slurred, but I saw him before any speech therapy had begun, so this should improve as well.

I realized that the whole time I was up there, I was thinking about my ministry in Greensboro. And then I started feeling guilty for thinking about my ministry rather than just focusing on events in Maryland. Mind you, most of my relatives up there were going to work each day. People say you are supposed to just let other things go by the wayside at times like these. But that was not happening.

Mind you, it is Monday morning and I am writing this while an auditor is going over the books. If anything is going to draw you back, it would be the notion of a pending audit.

But that was not all of it. I had one student who was sick, a couple of students who were seeking a way out of a feud but not succeeding, and another one who I wasn't sure had food. And so on. Not to mention the sermon I was expected to preach on Sunday.

And then it hit me. Why should I be forgetting about the rest of my life when a crisis occurs? More importantly, why do Christians suddenly act as if all that language about who your family is doesn't apply when the biological family needs something?

I love my dad. A lot. But I realized just how much I love the students and other folk that I am called to serve too. And some of them are going through some very serious events in their lives at the moment.

So here's the deal. When I am in Greensboro, I am going to worry about what is happening up in Maryland with my dad. But when I am in Maryland (and I will probably be back up there in a few weeks), I'm going to worry about the folks in Greensboro that I have given my heart to (and my time and my pledge of Christ's love). And I am not going to feel guilty about it. Love knows no bounds. Why should I act as if it does?

Fortunately, I bought a new laptop over Christmas break. And I could keep tabs on my students, even in the hospital, through the magic of Facebook. And, just as nice, they could know where I was and send wonderful prayers out for my father. Letting them know just by keeping my status up to date became an opportunity for them to minister to me. Being surrounded with others providing me ministry has always been a holy place to be. Thanks.

So don't let your family be narrowly defined. And certainly don't let others tell you where your love comes from or goes. It, like the Holy Spirit, goes where it wills and does what it may....

1 comment:

Jane R said...

Lovely reflection, Kevin, thanks.

I know well the feeling-guilty-about-the-other-place(s) and this was a good week for me to read this.

Prayers for your father (and you) continue.

P.S. I have not succumbed to Facebook, though I think I opened an account there once - but I have a whole community of bloggers and if I went on Facebook it would wreck my delicately balanced existence. So, no Facebook, or perhaps I'll explore my options there in the summer. Not before.