Saturday, September 21, 2013
The Real Definition
I just got back from the hospital. Earlier this evening, I received an e-mail followed by a phone conversation with a co-worker. She wanted to let me know about the situation and wondered if I could go pray. I was honored to do so. The request actually came from the wife of the man in the hospital. I've never met her; in fact, I've only seen him once before. Back in June, I was contacted by a wonderful lady from my former church in Tennessee. Her brother who lives in Houston had suffered a stroke and she asked if I could visit him in the nursing home. I did (although I think he was confused as to who I was) and requested on FACEBOOK that perhaps there were others who live close to me might also go by and see him. He and his wife have no children and no other relatives who live in Houston. My co-worker and a sister from my congregation also visited and got in touch with the man's wife, who does not drive. I left for Vietnam shortly after my one trip to see him and regretfully, have not been back...until tonight.
He's in the ICU unit of a nearby facility, 4.8 miles from my apartment. There were no other visitors in the ICU as far as I could tell. The staff was cordial and subdued as you would expect. He never opened his eyes. His kidneys have failed and they can no longer do any dialysis and he's probably down to a day or two. I prayed as I sat by his bed and had flashbacks of Dad. It was different- Dad was conscious until almost the end and he was always surrounded by family and the myriad of friends he and Mom had accumulated over the decades of their marriage and ministry. But this was the same- death is not pretty. It made me dread dying by myself and I hope his kin can get here before he passes.
You know what was fascinating to me as I sat there by this dying man? Over the sound system, the University of Texas-Kansas State football game was being played. A bunch of young men are battling for team glory and personal glory in a stadium in Austin, Texas tonight. The coach of Texas is fighting for his career as numerous reports this week have him all but terminated, with the incredible rumor surfacing he could be replaced by Alabama's Nick Saban. In our culture, we often look at sports as life and death; if you don't believe it, read some of the message boards on sports' websites and I know I've been guilty as both a player and coach of falling headlong into that mindset. But sometimes, we're confronted by the true definition of life and the true definition of death and they have nothing to do with rankings or trophies or championships. Sometimes, the scoreboard is simply the brightly lit monitoring screen next to the bed of a dying man who has no awareness of the constantly flashing numbers. And someday, inevitably that scoreboard will go blank for all of us. Please pray for Bob and his family tonight.
Applicable quote of the day:
Posted by Steve Hawley at 9:43 PM