Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Inter-Faith Interchange

As mentioned earlier,I spent most of the past week in the hospital. I want to share a story from my experience.

Before you get offended at me for this story, please, appreciate the humor.

This past Thursday, while lying in a hospital bed, I enjoyed a humorous encounter with someone of a faith different than my own-a Catholic volunteer chaplain. Now, I must "let the cat out of the bag", so to speak. I'm an independent fundamental Baptist. To those of you who might not know the significance of that, it means that I come from a stripe which is considered the Baptist "extreme right". For those of you who still aren't clear as to what I'm getting at, it means that Baptists and Catholics don't often see eye to eye.
The hospital where my surgery was performed is in the beautiful city of Mountain Home, Arkansas. It is a rapidly growing city situated between two fantastic man-made lakes. It has for many years been a sort of retirement area for yank....er...umm...the northern elderly. Many couples who have earned their "nest-egg" and have raised their families in the north have come to this awesome area to live out their lives, together. My home is about 50 miles south of the area.
My uncle, who also happens to be my pastor, drove up to see me on Thursday. Just after he arrived, an elderly man knocked on the door, then came in and introduced himself as a volunteer. He said in a voice that was not at all unusual, if not a little nervous: "It's a beautiful day outside, today, isn't it?" This was the point where I had my first urge to snicker.
I mean, it WAS a beautiful day, outside. The partly cloudy sky was clear and bright and the temperatures were MUCH lower than normal. It was a day I would have enjoyed doing something outside-and probably would have-if not for the situation I was in.
Anyway, after a couple of minutes of nervous chit-chat, my friend, the volunteer, asked if he could pray for me. My pastor was standing beside him, my wife and parents also in the room, I said: "Sure!".
Now, I don't really know what I was expecting. Maybe just a couple of lines asking God to be with me during surgery or something....you know. He takes my hand-and and as everyone in the room respectfully bowed their heads- this good and kind old-man began.
Do any of you remember the movie "The Princess Bride"? You remember-Robin Wright, Carey Elwes, Andre the Giant and all them? Do you remember the priest who performed the wedding ceremony? Yep....you guessed it! My friendly Catholic volunteer chaplain broke into a sing-song rendition of "The Lord's Prayer" which I swear would rival the utterly humorous: "Ma-widge" and "Wuv, twoo wuv" of those great scenes.
That was the point where I had to not only restrain myself from snickering, but also from bursting out laughing, outright!
As he continued his recital and I regained my composure under cover of bowed heads and the musical quality of the prayer, I thought how much I appreciated this man who I had never met. He did not have to spend his time offering comfort to me. As sick as I was, I probably had more mobility and energy than he. But I want you to know that he was appreciated.
As he neared the end of his prayer, he said: "In the name of....". I couldn't resist....I had to lift an eyelid....YES....he did it. A genuine genuflect! I was genuflected over! Not just a coy, little movement of the hand-but a great sweeping/jabbing action! This, of course, was the third time I had to physically and mentally haul back on the reins of the bucking bronco of my laughter!
I never expected this encounter. I enjoyed it and will probably always remember it. When a Baptist and a Catholic joined hands in prayer.

My family and I enjoyed a moment or two of laughter after my volunteer had gone.

Originally posted at Club 100

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