The rhythm of going to the hospital each week is one that is helpful for me to follow, and I do it regularly each week and more, depending on what it going on up there.
This morning I headed up there and my goal was to tell some of the people in there that I, we, are moving. I've actually tried this a couple of times, but I've bailed each time. And today was no different.
The one lady who was there was not having a good morning, even being unsure of who I was. She was not pleased to be placed in the part of the hospital that is long care related. So she was upset and frustrated with the system.
Her daughter was there too, which made any deep conversation almost impossible, so I said I would return later, and I will.
When you are aged and when you are ill, you value the local minister for different reasons than the good old, "We'll miss you" kinds of thoughts, because people in that phase of life are facing different needs than the rest of us are.
Honestly, many people in that season of life want someone there to see them through the final transition of life. To walk with them to death, and to see them through that door.
Many times they have asked me after my being away on holiday, "Are you leaving us? Are you going away?" So far I've always assured them that I wasn't going anywhere, and that allows them to settle down a bit and be more comfortable.
But now I need to tell them I'm going, and I don't know how.
They will ask me if I can come back and do their funerals, and I won't know the answer to that either. So I will assure them that I will do everything I can do to make their transitions ok. Knowing that I will do my best, but my best might not be the same as their perception of my best. But I can live with that.
I know this is a tough season for some of them, especially some of the 90 year olds who are not well. They will worry and fret a bit, and honestly, some of them may pass away sooner so that there is someone to bury them. I know that sounds morbid, but I know it to happen. The levels in a human heart are amazing.
I just gotta get myself to the place of telling them that I'm going, and hope and pray and trust God to be their God too.