Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

Today Wallace agreed to leave the church open all day so people can stop in to pray and remember Andy (I've changed his name) and his family, as he undergoes 16 hours worth of extensive surgery today.

This is a scenario I've seen far too often in this town, because a lot of times it is what I know about the initial biopsy that gets the ball rolling. It's always seemed to me that faculty at Truman State seem to get their share of "weird" malignancies. They can't have the run of the mill breast and colon cancers, they seem to be befallen with more "exotic" ones.

But the fact of the matter is that Andy's exotic cancer has not responded well to radiation and chemotherapy so the only chance he has at long term survival is a grueling and disfiguring piece of surgery. Even if he beats the tumor, he is going to have to deal with his physical body being far different than it was before.

In a college town of 17,000, we Kirkatoids know quite a few of each other. Andy and his wife are good friends with our Laura here at Trinity. It doesn't matter that Andy belongs to the church down the street...the church we kind of make fun of b/c they are clueless about Lent and put up signs that say "Happy Lent." It doesn't matter that a lot of us don't care for the minister of that church, because of various interactions he's had with certain key people at Trinity. Our church doors are open today so we can remember Andy and his family in prayer...because his life intersects with a lot of people at our church. It's as simple as that.

Today makes two things run through my mind. One is Laura's courage for getting the ball rolling to make this happen. Laura's husband died of a more difficult sort of cancer almost 2 years ago today. She's very good friends with Andy and his wife. I think she and her late husband used to pal around with them to some degree. So her taking charge of this activity is very very deja vu for her, I'm sure. I see this a lot, too, in our small town. Someone who lost a loved one to cancer becomes the rock for the next family who faces the big C. I have to remember to pray for her today, too.

The other is this whole concept of praying for people even when there is a connection of a thread of dislike in the story, or even for someone you out and out dislike, period. I won't deny there is a little smug part of me that says, "Yeah, we need to pray for Andy b/c his own minister is not going to be much help." The minister from The Church Down The Street, IMO, is not very good at all at pastoral care for the ill or dying. He pretty much leaves it up to his underlings and lay help. Then at the funeral, he blows on and on about "how he was with N. as he was dying." Ugh.

I have had to think about this "praying for people you don't like" thing a lot this week. There are at least two people this month who have been difficult people in my life. I visited with Wallace about this, told him about a suggestion I saw on another simply pray, "Bless so-and-so, change me." We discussed what that sort of presented in the way of a challenge.

The first part, he said, implies that we have to address what it is about ourselves that we don't like that the difficult person's behavior throws back in our own faces. I added it also makes me realize this is not an "either/or" proposition. Blessing someone else does not remove a blessing meant for me. It's not like I have to give up something to ask for this.

The second part, he alluded, sort of forces our hand in "recognizing good in the other person and respecting their worth as a human being." I added that it also faced me with a counter-intuitive notion--my gut response to this concept is, "I'm not the one who needs to change--THEY are," but upon further examination I realize that to deal with people we don't like, we still have to change if we have any expectation of getting beyond that visceral dislike and get to some sort of acceptance of the situation as "difficult." Not to mention I personally get stubborn about change.

So the short version is I will probably swing by after work to Trinity. I will remember Andy and his family. I will remember Laura and her family. I will remember The Church Down The Street, as well as (sigh) their minister. I will remember the two difficult people in my life this month. I will ask for others to be blessed, and for me to (grunt, wiggle, squirm) be changed. I guess I will have to trust God's ability to know what He's doing in that department.

I hear my Uncle Willis' voice. He has told me many times over the years, "You put up quite a fuss sometimes, but eventually you do what's right, even if it is begrudgingly...and begrudgingly is better than not at all, because you are at least handing SOMETHING over to God and he can take care of the rest."



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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