There are things that I’m pretty good at doing in ministry, things that I’m ok at doing, and things that I don’t do well at all. What should probably be one of the simplest things is one of the things I do poorly – simple ‘maintenance’ pastoral care. Crisis pastoral care offered around deaths, hospitalizations, accidents, etc. (something that terrified me before I was ordained) is actually not that hard for me. The situations are hard, but being there is not. It’s the everyday home visits for those who are doing ok but are somewhat homebound due to rehab, chronic illness, assisted living arrangements, etc. that are hardest for me. How crazy is that? It should be a breeze!
I’ve tried for my 11 years of ministry to figure out why this is. Maybe it’s because I truly am an introvert who functions in an extrovert’s world. Taking the initiative to set up an appointment, showing up, staying engaged and attentive for the duration of the visit without yawning – it’s so hard for me! Geez – what is it about visits that make me want to yawn? I’m not bored, I promise! But without fail I am attacked by the yawns. I take deep breaths to stifle them or yawn with my mouth closed hoping they won’t notice. That works only until my eyes start watering like a fountain. It’s ridiculous.
I’ve noticed something in my new church that makes me happy. What I do so poorly, certain members of my congregation do very well. There are a few who are regular visitors at the various nursing home facilities. There are a couple who find dropping in on the sick or recovering to be a delight. Unlike in my previous church where if I didn’t do it, it just didn’t get done, visitation is a part of the personal ministries of a number of our members. How great is that?! Does that let me off the hook? No. I know it doesn’t. But it sure does help having shared ministry with others. Thank you, Lord!