Mary M. Wrye

Good morning all. It is Wednesday, September 19 and the year just keeps on flying by. In reading Chapter 4 on Community… I am reminded of the importance of community (however one chooses to define that). Bill, your discussion about solitude, the need to begin there, and that “maybe, just maybe, God will get a word in as well. Given a chance, God turns our attention to others and their needs. Out of our solitude come community and service to others”… I also find that to be true. As I sit in solitude and quiet (which I don’t do nearly as often as I should) God calls to mind those in need. And God nudges me to show up and care. When folks tell me they couldn’t do my job, I tell them it isn’t that complicated – all you have to do is show up and care. Your reminder that “while it is Jesus who cures, it is the community that has the power to enable”.

And your discussion on Compassion not Judgment was yet another reminder for me. To be honest, I struggle with that. Even now there is a patient I am dealing with who has lung cancer, is in and out of my hospital, and continues to drag her medicine pole outside to smoke multiple times a day. I want to yell at this patient to STOP SMOKING!!!!! And yet I realize there was a time in my life that I was 80 pounds overweight and very unhealthy. Did I lose weight when people kept telling me I would feel better if I did. NO!!! While I did eventually do that – it took me well into my middle adult years to do that. Do I feel better? Of course. Do I wish I had lost the weight when I was 25? Absolutely. But I had to decide that for myself. So helping by judging is certainly not helpful.

I am a Baby Boomer so I recall those times when a phone in your house meant a party line with the neighbors, when you knew your neighbors and you knew that if you did something stupid they would not hesitate to inform your parents, and when you spent Friday nights “cruising Main” to see friends, stopping often in the parking lots to talk through the car windows. While technology makes it much easier for me to stay connected to my good friends on the West coast – it is also a reason to text rather than call. And when we don’t feel good, when life sucks, we need those phone calls and visits. A quick text is fine, but you can’t see the look on a face, to discern if the truth is being told. I worked with a pastor some 25 odd years ago who told the congregation that she had a “ministry of absence” so we wouldn’t get dependent on her. The congregation bought it. I didn’t. Just being present with folks is powerful… show up and care.

Thank you Bill, for giving me things to ponder, for reminding me that I need to put my judgments away, for reading my thoughts.