I began the day with a 7:30 breakfast with colleagues, and will end tonight by (hopefully) finalizing Sunday's sermon while Daughter is at choir. In between we worked on Christmas and New Year's Day worship, and I made 4 visits. One visit was at a senior high rise, and one was in the hospital. Both places I was introduced to others with great pride, "This is my pastor." Neither visit was particularly long, but both were very much appreciated. All of the visits had stories of pain. Family estrangements, fear of death, longing for death, hanging on to life in hopes of reconciliation.
I consider it a great honor to be allowed to accompany people on their journeys. I see sides of them that others don't get to see. I hear of pain that is carefully hidden from others. I have two people who are near death. Administrative Assistant and I have both said that we are willing to come in during our vacation between Christmas and New Year's if either of them dies. It would be a blessing if one of the deaths came sooner than that. The other would be better later, because the same caregiver is responsible for both of them. She does have limits, and the stress is taking a toll. If you count the time with her as we drove between the two women, that makes 5 pastoral visits today. A full and rewarding day.