In the song titled, “Nobody Told Me” John Lennon, repeatedly says,
“Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Strange days indeed — most peculiar, mama…”
These words and the music were playing on my mind and heart when I was driving home from Brockville General Hospital, after being with a congregant who breathed his last breath, on July 15, 2019, surrounded with his family, doctor, nurse, me and The Spirit of Peace.
I have not heard this song for a long time, but somehow it popped in my head. Today, a week later, it is still playing in my head. So, I wanted to take the time to write about the entire experience as much as possible. For the last week, I have been reflecting on my days through seminary where ministers are prepared for their vocation in serving God through God’s People. But really, the pastoral care course, or the weddings, baptisms and funerals prep courses never prepare seminarians for such moments where a minister, besides charting through their daily tasks, must sail through such storms. Yes, every day is a surprise for a minister, not only the daily juggling act of administrative work, prepping for Sunday Worship Celebrations, but also the amount of stretching we do in being balanced with Hope in the middle of Grief; to find Joy in the middle of Sadness; and to sense Peace in the middle of Chaos. In Ministry, the days become blurred and family goes to the back burner and the congregants become a priority.
So, today, after a week of mulling over this song, I have come to embrace the fact that in life there are strange days indeed, and no one can prepare us for them, but yet there are sacred presences in those strange days that help us see beyond this physical world.
Yes, in that strange day of last breath, there is a new beginning. In that strange moment of singing, praying, reading the Chapter of Love (I Corinthians 12), and Psalm 121, it makes us realize that all things must come to an end, but LOVE never ends, and our Hope and Help comes from the Creator of the Universe Only and Only; that is why we lift our eyes above as we humble our heart and mind and submit to the Source of All Love. There is Hope beyond comprehension. Yes, in that strange day of standing next to the congregant as he breathed his last breath, there is Peace beyond measure. A flood of memories from 10 years ago when this specific person saw the importance of a minister to accompany the sick and the dying, has now reaped the gift of that care for others.
So, a week later, my heart echoes, there are strange days in life, but when all is said and done, and the fog dissipates, we see the Sacred Present to offer Comfort, Peace and Hope.
Beloved, today I urge you to carry on the work at hand, no matter how hard it is. Be there for others, put the needs of others first and I promise you, you will find Comfort and Peace for your self. It will get better and the strange things will grow strangely dim in the light of Hope, Peace, Joy, Love, and the Sacred. Thanks be to God – The Source of Love, who was, and is, and shall forever BE. Amen.