It was Friday night and as many know, Friday is date night for Earl and me each week. But last week it was a little different.
Earl began CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) classes at the end of August, and they last until December 18th. This past weekend was his first of eight, overnight, on-call volunteer times.
So we decided that we would have a date night on Thursday night. We tried a restaurant in downtown, Charleston. We love sampling the food at different restaurants, and I almost always prefer Italian. Unfortunately, we left the restaurant $60 poorer and still hungry. Whoever heard of leaving an Italian restaurant hungry?
Friday is also Earl’s day off (on call 24/7 always, but we say it’s his day off), so he got up early, worked on his computer, went into the office (he feels guilty now that he takes a day or two for the chaplaincy program, so he goes in on Friday)….then he came home and worked on one of his many auto projects before dressing to the nine’s and heading to the hospital.
Before leaving he asked me, “Would you come to the hospital and have dinner with me?” OK, I’ll be honest here, as the pastor’s wife, my first thought was not positive. It was more like “What? You’ve got to be kidding!” But even as he was asking, and I was rejecting, I knew without a doubt, I would be going with him.
It’s not often that I deny Earl his heartfelt requests, and anybody who knows me, knows this is true. But why would I deny myself an opportunity to spend a little time with Earl, even if it is in a hospital cafeteria? As many people know, a pastor’s family life is very difficult. Check out the blog-post here that I wrote concerning statistics on a pastor’s life and family. So with this knowledge, I know not to make our life any more difficult than it already is. If I’m given an opportunity to be with him, and I can do it, I’m there!
When I met him at the St. Francis Hospital cafeteria, I must say that we enjoyed a fabulous fish dinner with rice and greens along with drinks and bread – all for less than $10. The meal was fabulous! My date continued on with a tour of the chapel, the CPE offices, and then I was brought upstairs to see where he would be spending the night. It was in a small room on a tiny little single bed. Earl is 6’2”, and this was not going to be comfortable for him to say the least. Not only that, but the bed wasn’t even made up. Ghee-gads! Earl and I spent a few minutes locating the linens and then without a second thought, I was making up his bed for him.
I figure it this way, I feel so blessed that God has given me a few things in this life to oversee, whereas Earl has been given much to oversee. I certainly want to make sure that I do all I can for such a caring, compassionate and humble pastor, so that he can touch the souls of those in distress and those that are depressed and dispirited, by the Spirit of God that works through him.
Matthew 9:36 NASB
36 Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.