Pastor’s Keyboard: Recently, I visited one of our more-senior parishioners in the hospital (Bernie Goldsborough). He had been in the hospital a couple of days and I expected him to be sad, upset at his condition, and perhaps a little irritable with the staff and me as well (since I had not been able to visit sooner). Now, anyone who knows Bernie knows that he is a very good man; one who sees the bright side of life and a man of service to his church and community. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into the room and he was the same Bernie I have known! Instead of being irritable and sad, he was cheerful and he even paid multiple compliments to the hospital staff. Instead of asking “where have you been”, he said “when I get out of here, I’m going to do this and that for the Parish.” He was sick and suffering, yet he was focused on God and others. He spoke of how happy he was to receive Holy Communion and how kind people were to him. He was truly a suffering servant; a man who was not caught up in his own pain and discomfort, but a man who still wanted to help others and be about the work of the Lord. This struck me because Bernie is over 90 years of age. He has every right to feel tired and worn, but instead he is the Energizer Bunny of the Parish, always on the move, and always looking ahead of him rather than behind. I don’t know about you, but whenever I feel even a little sick, I start to feel down. I just want to stay in my room and be left alone. Sadly, I can become irritable with the people around me, even the ones that are trying to help me (at this point, I should especially apologize to all those who have been around me at these times). Yet, here is a man more than twice my age, with more sickness than I have faced in my young life, and his reaction is completely the opposite of mine. Why? How? Because he looks up to the Lord, not down at his condition in the present moment. He looks outward to the good of his fellow man instead of inward to his present discomfort. He chooses to see the good that surrounds him, in his family and friends and the nurses and doctors, rather than asking them to do more than is reasonable or possible. It was an inspiration and a lesson for me. When you’re feeling down and you are not at your best, turn to the Lord and thank Him for your blessings. Remember, things could be far worse. Always adopt an attitude of gratitude!
Your Brother and Father in Christ,