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“Not the Sermon” Message

This Week at Trinity, Beamsville

Friday, March 29, 2019

Dear Friends, This week I found myself stuck in a waiting room, for an unexpectedly long wait, for a relatively easy test that should (on paper) only have had me in that space, start to finish, for two hours. But then, according to the exceptionally great nurse who kept us all on track, everything that could go wrong did. Among other things, the machine stopped working for a while and had to be rebooted. Some tests before mine needed repeated. One patient went into severe allergic reaction that sent the staff scrambling. Another couldn’t or wouldn’t leave until results were read and shared. The two hours became 5 and more. Truly, I don’t want to complain about any of the above, knowing that it all unfolded in a health care system that allows for the testing in the first place. It was a frustrating exercise, but at least it could happen. I did, however, sit through that adventure with a whiny, albeit internal tone about another woman waiting for those same hours. She wasn’t quite sitting beside me but I still managed to hear hours of material about her life. My summary statement to a few folks fielding texts on my whereabouts was to pleadingly ask for strategies to get her to stop. I suppose we could say she makes friends out of strangers, but in that particular space, it started to feel long and cumbersome, with lots of oversharing. Pastoral training fully in place, I was running out of ways to signal my need for some quiet. I have no idea if it bothered anyone else in that waiting room, but clearly I wasn’t in a frame of head or heart to absorb someone else’s extended story right then. Clearly, she needed to share what was on her mind; and her life’s story was on her mind. Even thinking about putting all that in print felt rather uncompassionate. It still does, now in sentence form. It also feels a little risky, in either exposing or solidifying truth about pieces of me I wish were better developed: things like assertiveness and self-advocacy, not to mention patience. I want to be that person who could have engaged with that stranger for as long as it took to support her. Neither of us could go anywhere quickly. I could surely have made a hard wait a little easier, with a more attentive ear. I’m just guessing at that, and trying not to be too hard on myself. Who knows, maybe she wasn’t even looking for reciprocal conversation. A few days later, my heart says this: the long and short of what unfolded in that waiting room is proof positive that every single one of us is in need of some fine tuning. Some of us overshare; some of us under-engage. Some of us avoid self-care entirely; others lose sight of caring for others. It’s a lifelong balance, a lifelong pursuit of where God calls us to be and when, with a healthy dose of why and how. Some days we’ll hit the mark with ease and others days will feel wildly off target. Every day, God loves us through the process, with grace that can’t help but transform the weariest of hearts. Thank God for that. Thank you, God. With love to you all,


“Fly while you still have wings.” (Joyce Rupp)

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