I’ve been pondering how to write about this week I’ve had, which has perhaps been the hardest ever in my professional career.
Actually, in my life, pretty much.
Thank goodness for my colleague Mary, who reminded me of one of the many powerful experiences we’ve shared over the course of this week. Remembering this experience gave me a way to think about this whirlwind in which I’ve been standing:
It happened late last Thursday night, when we left the ER at Children’s Hospital after spending several long hours there. Mary and I, along with our colleague Allyson, were making our way across the dark parking lot toward the car, all too tired and too numb to really say very much.
There was nothing one could say, really, so we mostly walked in silence.
I don’t think any of us heard the chopper approach, but we live in Washington DC where the sight and sound of helicopters is nothing notable. So it seemed a little sudden, the rushing wind.
When the wind started, though, we realized we were right in the path of an approaching emergency medical helicopter trying to land on the helipad about 100 feet in front of where we were walking.
As the helicopter got closer the wind picked up, rushing and whistling by us, growing and growing until it became almost violent. Gravel from the parking lot stung my skin and I shut my eyes tight to try to protect them. My hair was whipping around my head, and it felt like the wind would take my coat off all by itself.
And then the wind died a little. The helicopter landed right in front of us and we watched as ER personnel rushed in to unload a patient.
Then, we kept walking in the darkness toward the car.
The thing about pastoral ministry that never, ever stops surprising me, is the curious and sometimes utterly fear-inducing way my job ushers me into the most unthinkable moments in human life.I find, in times like these, that I’m getting better about putting on my “pastor’s hat” and doing my job. The choking sobs come later, when I’m home; my job is to stand as firm as I can and hold out a hand to help us all hang on.
But the wind . . . the violent, bone-chilling wind of human suffering . . . takes my heart and batters it right along with the battered hearts of those I find myself holding up, praying and crying with . . . .
Wind, strong violent winds have been blowing this week.
We stand here, as firm as possible, trying desperately to remember the God who reached out his arm and said, “Peace, be still.”
And it was.