Monday, December 12, 2005

November 6, 2005 - Communion

This morning is our monthly service of communion, and this week I ask Claire to preside along with me, in the absence of Robin Lostetter, our associate pastor. Robin is recuperating from knee-replacement surgery, and this afternoon will make her first post-op public appearance, delivering a brief charge at the installation service for a colleague in a nearby church.

Standing next to me at the Communion Table, Claire leads the people through the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving, a prayer in which we typically include intercessions of various kinds. One of the groups of people she mentions is those awaiting the results of medical tests. We both know what she means. I have had people pray for me before, of course, but this time there is an odd urgency about it.

This afternoon I drive Robin to the installation service, and sit in the congregation while she speaks. She does well, despite being on some pretty powerful pain medications.

I have been pondering whether to tell Robin my news. She’ll be one of the first I’ll tell, outside of the family. We have a close working relationship that’s grown into real friendship.

I have decided against telling her, for now. The news could be a burden on her own recovery – and is it really news, anyway, or just speculation at this point? What I have is a doctor's informed guess, not a firm diagnosis.

Am I even ready to tell anyone yet? What sort of response will I get from people, anyway? Probably a wide range of reactions, based on their personal experience with life-threatening illness, either as a patient or as a family member. Will I find the predictable expressions of shock and sympathy comforting, or disturbing?

As a pastor, I like to think I’m a pretty good caregiver. Yet I know enough about myself to realize that, like many of my colleagues in ministry, I’m a lousy care-receiver.

I think I’ll continue to cruise through this odd radio silence a while longer.

1 comment:

Kristin said...

I'm glad you posted this, telling people is a very difficult part of any medical issue. It is too bad that so much of your anonymity was lost by being in a smaller town where so many people know you. Once you are ready to share though you will have massive amounts of support.