Earlier this year, I decided to get actively involved in several ministries at my church. One of the ministries was to serve under a pastor who worked with the seniors of the church. He was responsible for many areas, one of which included a nursing home ministry. A new director started around the same time I started. Under her leadership, I was to visit church members who now resided in nursing/assisted living homes, as they were unable to attend regular church service. It was something I watched my father do when I was younger. I hadn’t really thought of it before but figured I would give it a try. After all, I have always enjoyed being around folks older than myself.
She gave me the contact information for a gentleman whose wife had just passed away three weeks prior. I had no idea what I would say or do when I got there. Rather than think too much about it, I drove to the place. I prayed about what would happen next. Looking back, I realize how nervous and worried I was. However, I pushed past my anxiety and walked along the hallway, stopping periodically to ask for directions from one section to the next until I finally found his room. I knocked on the door and saw the man I was to visit sitting in his wheel chair. I told him the church I belonged to and asked him if it was okay for me to visit. He seemed cheerful that he had a visitor and welcomed me to sit.
For the next two hours, we talked about everything from work, the city, family, and anything else that popped into our minds. There were occasional pauses but overall, the conversation flowed smoothly. At the end of visit, I prayed for him and left. Over the next month, I made quite a few visits to my new friend. However, after each visit, I felt less welcome than the time before. Our conversations got shorter each time. I also noticed his health was getting worse to the point where he seemed sick most of the time. On one visit I had, after the thirty-minute drive to see him, he was not pleased at all to see me. I asked if it was a good time and he responded it wasn’t. I foolishly stuck around for a couple minutes anyway. After driving that far, I thought I earned at least a few minutes. I could feel the tension build, so I left.
It wasn’t long after my visit that I got an email from the pastor asking me not to visit my friend any more. Looking back now, I realize somewhere along the way, I forgot it was really about him and not me. My heart sunk to my stomach. I couldn’t believe it. The pastor told me not to take it personal, which was sound advice if only I were able to take it. Shortly after this happened, he organized a small get together with the other volunteers to give us a chance to meet and talk with one another. We shared stories and the struggles we encountered. When I shared mine, others encouraged me and also informed me not to take things personally. They reminded me that many of these people are suffering and the whole point we are visiting them is to remind them they are loved and not forgotten. I knew what they said was true, but it hurt to be rejected. I even brought my dad along with me on one visit, thinking it would do them both good to talk with one another. He used to serve in this type of ministry after all. But I had to explain to my dad what happened and that me nor him would be able to visit the man any more. For some reason, I wrestled hard with the news.
I did not visit anyone else over the next couple months, nor did I go asking to see if anyone was looking for a visit. It turns out I grew weary in well doing and lost the desire to continue serving in this ministry. After such a terrible start, it did not seem I was any good at it. I thought maybe it just wasn’t for me. Obviously, I reasoned, God must have had something else in mind. However, about two months after that event came a new email from the director of the program. The events that followed changed my outlook completely.
Categories: Love God