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A moment of pastoral care that was unexpected, but exactly what I needed.

My sophomore year of college, my grandfather passed away from several types of cancer.  This was the first person close to me to die, and this was a very difficult season for me.  The funeral was beautiful, and I had the honor of being a pallbearer.  I learned much about my grandfather that I did not before: about his time in the navy, the churches he lead before I was born, about his relationship with my grandmother, and about his heart to see the Kingdom in breaking until his dying breath.  A few weeks after the funeral , I was back at my home church visiting my family, and young man named Robbie approached me.  I grew up with Robbie, he was about 10 years older than me, and Robbie lived with down syndrome.  Robbie was never able to pass more than a 4th grade educational level, but he was always one of the kindest people in the church.  After the service, Robbie came up to me to give me a hug (which was his usual custom, or I usually went to him I should say), but he stopped short.  Robbie put his hand on my shoulder and said, “I am so sorry about your grandfather.  I love you.”  Robbie then proceeded to bring me in a for big bear hug, and I immediately started to cry.

In that moment with Robbie, I was seen.  I felt known and understood.  I had not told Robbie my grandfather passed away, nor had I seen him for the three weeks between the funeral and that Sunday.  I’ll never forget that moment, nor will I forget that sometimes the best pastoral care is given through a simple well timed word.