Spent this morning and early aft walking through the Court system with a family. After waiting interminably, the charges were finally dropped. Big sighs of relief all around!
What struck me as we waited (and waited and waited!), was how similar the process felt to going to the hospital.
– You go to a foreign-feeling institution through no choice of your own.
– The building itself is overwhelming, let alone the situation.
– You feel lost and alone. And afraid.
– People in uniform are walking around looking important (and also looking like they know what they are doing).
– There’s a lot of “Hurry up and wait” that takes place.
– All you have is your own story, and at that particular moment, that doesn’t feel anything like enough.
– Maybe you make small talk with whoever is around (friends, strangers, anyone who is nearby) just to pass the time, while you try to ignore the lead ball in your stomach.
– You want to go the washroom, or the cafeteria, or outside, but are afraid you’ll miss something if you do.
– You try to be optimistic, but you know that things can go either way.
– Your name is called, and you force yourself to go in.
– People are there who “know things,” either law or medicine, about which you haven’t got a clue. You are a stranger to them, yet they hold your life in their hands.
– You know in your head that the people around you are just “doing their job,” but your gut tells you that some of the people around you might not have your best interest at heart; they might have other priorities.
– Then, you are confronted by the “Important Person” (doctor or judge), who has a hideous amount of power over you.
– You are terrified to hear what the “Important Person” is going to say, yet know that your life can’t continue until you do.
– At the same time, the “Important Person” might say something which will change absolutely everything in ways you can’t even imagine.
– The only prayer you can pray is, “Please, God!”
– In this case, the “Important Person” said, “You are free to go.”
– The lead ball in your stomach begins to fade (slowly, though, because it took a while to form in there).
– You’ve been sitting all day, but suddenly you can’t stand.
– And yet, for now anyway, life can begin again.
And what was, and is, the humbling part for me is that I was allowed to walk through this valley with these people.
Every once is a while, as a pastor, you get to do what you thought you would be doing.