Thursday, July 19, 2007

aging part 2

another way in which ministry stinks at times is the constant watching people age and decline.
vibrant, functioning, men and women become lumps of disorder and dependance knowing nothing that goes on around them.

this morning I received a call from a woman's granddaughter-in-law.
The woman has been diagnosed with alzheimer's . . .
I saw her just weeks ago. She had been in the hospital for pneumonia, but seemed her usual self. Now she is already disoriented and wandering around the house.
Things change so quickly.

I questioned the diagnosis since she is declining so rapidly, but turns out it is true and because she had brain surgery years ago for an aneurism the fluid is depleating quickly on that portion of the brain. I really do not know too much about the disease, but that it takes the most vital people and robs them of vitality as well as intellect. The doctor told the family members who care for her he will fill out the paperwork for them to have FMLA for 6-8 weeks if they so desire. That should be all the time they need he said.

Oh, my heart aches.
Ministry stinks at times.
Yet, the woman says a visit from me, the pastor, is welcome and would probably help.
What a priviledge.
A joy of ministry is to be welcome and even wanted when no one else is allowed access to people. I feel honored and oh so lacking in wisdom and knowledge as how to fill such shoes!


Today, child abuse and neglect -
Yesterday, an elderly woman in a nursing home was lying in her own poop when I entered her room. This is bad enough to imagine and to experience I imagine, but the woman also has a bed sore. Can you imagine how painful that must have been for the woman?
She is so sweet and easy going.
She apologized for her state when I arrived.
I asked her if I could get a nurse for her and her reply was "no, honey they will get to me as soon as they can. They are so busy in the mornings.

Oh my, I imagine this is why she has the pleasure of lying in her own poop while her skin is eaten away. . . . so sweet and kind, and this is how her long 98 year life is ending.

It is not fair nor how God intended.
Again, ministry stinks sometimes.

I did report the situation to the charge nurse.
Then, I called the woman's daughter and told her what I had done.
I felt in some ways that I had over steped some boundary.
The woman nor her daughter is a church member.
I know the daughter and the mother, but didn't feel particularly responsible.
Yet, I couldn't let the offense continue.
She got her bath and her diaper changed.
HOpefully some pain relief cream or something.
Ministry stinks sometimes.

Mandated Reporter

Ugh, pastoring stinks sometimes.
I had to make my first report of suspected child abuse this morning.
It hurts.
In so many ways it hurts.
I'm sad for the child. She is, of course, the reason I filed the complaint.
I'm sad for the mother who really isn't capable of doing any better.
I'm sad that any chance of a pastoral relationship is destroyed.
Of course, it is illegal for anyone to let her know who filed the complaint, but I'm confident she won't have too hard a time knowing who it was.
The mother was actually snorting some substance when the little three-year-old girl let me into their motel room. How stupid can she be?
Oh, man, I am drained from the entire experience.
Pastoring stinks sometimes, on the other hand, perhaps I've made a difference positively in the life of that sweet little child.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Possessed computer update

Tech support has no idea what is wrong with my computer.
The took remote access and everything.
Who knows what strange thing is lurking in my HD.
Happily I report less wandering of the cursor this week.
Who knows, maybe just looking for the problem made the little deamon run away scared!
I don't care what the reason or the cause, it is a bit better and for that I and thankful.

"Kids say the darndest things!"

Having dinner last night with parishoners.
One couple brought their darling grandaughter who is 2 years old.
She is so cute, well-behaved, always dressed in perfectly pressed and smocked clothing complete with bloomers.
She is precious.
Her grandparents are in their seventies and quite proper.
The grandmother owns a hoity=toity shop in town specializing in waterford crystal and wexford china to give you a hint at the culture of this family.

The grandaughter thinks I am the cat's meow for some reason.
I love her too. Children are a nice change from the stress and strain of ministry.
So, the little girl and I are sitting aside one another at dinner when she rather loudly says to me: "Dari can we go outside and spit?"

Oh my, the grandparents, mostly the grandmother was so embarrassed and quickly admonished the little girl for saying such at the table. She kept on asking! It was so cute given the family and the situation. This precious little girl with stellar "Old South" upbringing asking to go outside and spit just cracked me up!!!! I love it. I think I am a bad influence on her.

What a blessed friday the 13th!
Hooray for children and the joy they bring to our lives if we just let them. :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mingling joy and sadness

My parinishioner continues in the decline toward death.
I saw him briefly this morning.
He is no longer responsive.
His head is leaned WAY back and
he sleeps.
That's all.
Always sleeping.

I had the sense as I stood by his bed saying a prayer
that his spirit is already gone.
All that remains is the body going through its rote processes.
The heart continues to beat,
the lungs continue to breathe,
but the soul has left the building.

I am sad to see people in this condition.
I pray he can be released from what binds him here soon.

Sadness has really been my emotion overriding all else the past couple of days.
It is so hard to watch someone slip away from being an active and vital part of the congregation to being a sleeping mass in a hospital bed. I had to change my focus. I will prepare for the service when the time comes, but in the meantime there are other living members on whom I have been focusing my attention. This has helped my mood dramatically. I have some real dears in this congregation. I was visiting with one lady today who makes me laugh and the one following her just kept telling me that she loves me. The joyous nature of ministry is what I'm trying to focus upon.

Monday, July 9, 2007


A member of the congregation I serve is close to death.
He no longer awakens when I go into his hospital room.

According to his wife, when he is awake he is rambling on about things she doesn't understand.
This man is 91, almost 92 years old. He has lived a long, fruitful life.
He has a loving committed wife and 4 grown children, grandchildren.

Only last week he was lucid and talkative.
Not so much anymore and perhaps nevermore.

His wife is understandably tearful.
However, this tearful woman touched my heart this morning.
She is from my grandmother's generation where you stood strong and never let anyone know anything was wrong. It was rare to see her cry. She cried when her firstborn died. I don't remember her crying when my grandfather died . . . probably did it in solitude.
The women of this generation amaze me with their stamina,
their fortitude,
their outspokenness,
their commitment to family often without thought for themselves.
They always say they are fine no matter their real situation.
And they truly think they are fine.

I'm sad that this life, these relationships, are coming to an end.
It is tough to watch a man filled with life slip away.
The life is slowly leaving the body.
In many ways I think the life (Spirit) has already gone.
We wait for the physical body to completely wear out.

I'm sad.
As the pastor, I am sad because I really care about my congregation.
I was called here to love the congregation and I do.
It is hard to love people sometimes and sometimes, like today, love seems to set you up for pain and suffering.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

My computer is possessed, or something

For the last month or so my computer has a mind of its own.
I guess it goes without saying in some aspects that the computer has a mind of its own . . .
However, mine is no longer taking its lead on what to do from me.
When I am typing I have to constantly watch the screen because the cursor will randomly start typing somewhere other than where the thing should me. For instance, I was typing that last sentence and realized that the cursor had moved to the first line of the post and was typing along up there. It is quite a challenge.

I have had the thing checked out by a "tech-ie" Apparently, there is no virus. The software was all un-installed and re-installed. The problem persists. The next step is probably to send the thing back to the company for diagnostics and repair. That scares me . . . how do I live without a computer for however long that takes? I'm serious. I do everything on the computer. Everything for work that is - sermons, research, emails to staff and parishoners . . . I'm really anxious about the prospects. The one good thing is that the church did purchase an extended warranty with the thing so I'm still under warranty, but how do I cope while sans computer?

I'm embarrassed to admit that I am so dependent upon a machine for my day to day life, but I am a porduct of the current culture, I suppose. What to do, what to do.

My father would say "damn comupters!"

Loving my RevGalBlogPals!

Sermon preparation is so much more fun now that I've discovered the RGBP's. It was a perchance meeting one day as I was procrastinating under the pretense of researching my sermon topic or scripture or something. I think I may have been perusing "TextWeek" when the RGBP reference caught my eye. Well I was so excited to find like minded (or sometimes not) female clergy out there struggling with sermons and being pastors . . . just like me. Of course, it isn't always a struggle. However, this website gives us a place to vent the struggles and anxieties all the while finding support and suggestions from other wise clergy people. What a God-send for pastors like me who are far away from other clergy women and like-minded pastors of all genders here in the "land of the tall pines and pink tomatoes" (the town's official motto).

This Sunday morning I am feeling thankful for the love and support the RGBP's give to one another while not even knowing each other many times. I am SO thankful to have been led to you through the maze of internet information and of course, the Holy Spirit! Thanks be to God!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Things that make you go hummmmmmmmm

The strangest thing happened today.
I called my doctor's office to make an appointment. The receptionist put me on hold for quite awhile. Then, the nurse answered saying "Dari she has dictated a letter saying she is firing you as a patient. She cannot help you."

I was stunned. I was calling for a consult regarding some bloodwork she did last week. No big request, no complex issues, nothing really. Yet, she refused. It never occurred to me that a doctor would or even could do that. I can't imagine what I have done to spark such an action . . . of course, this is one of my problems in life, I try to take on all sorts of responsibility for things that are not mine to harbor. Perhaps she is having a bad time. PErhaps she doesn't like treating women who know their bodies and don't just soak up every word she says because she is the doctor. I am an informed and intelligent woman who takes her body seriously and I often (really always) have questions and my own ideas how things should go.

My mind races trying to figure this one out. Why would one's doctor fire one? Who knows.
A friend says, "oh well, her issue, move on and find a new doctor." Easier said than done. Relationships are important to me and I want closure. I want healthy closure. I want us to sit down and discuss what is going wrong and work it out. Oh well, not going to happen I guess! I am now in search of a new physician. This is hard for me in ways. I am 41 years old and I have only had 3 physicians in my life prior to this woman. The physician/patient relationship is important to me. I need a wise person overseeing my health care. I don't know that I have ever been without a doctor prior to this very day. YIKES!

Oh well, time to move on. . . . moving on . . . moving on . . . m.o.v.i.n.g..o.n. . . . . . . .