I remember my first hospital visit. I was a seminary student living in a very bad part of town. Once the neighborhood discovered that our house was filled with seminary students, our front porch became a frequent hangout for the homeless looking for a bite to eat, a place to relax, or an opportunity to tell stories.
Calvin was a regular visitor. We eventually moved a couch onto our front porch and invited Calvin to crash anytime it would be a benefit to him.
After a year of Calvin sleeping on our porch on a regular basis, we were notified that he was sick. Really sick. During my first hospital visit, I learned Calvin was dying of AIDS. I nervously made my way into the room and attempted to comfort Calvin and his girlfriend. I failed on an epic level. Eventually, I muttered some words and began to shuffle out of the door.
Calvin’s girlfriend politely asked, “Aren’t you going to pray?” I sheepishly moved back toward the bed and prayed.
I left the hospital that day and cried out to God, “If I’m going to be a pastor, I’m sure going to need your help.”*
May I never stop voicing that prayer.
*Extreme understatement. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” -John 15:5