Friday, June 18, 2010

The things I cannot do

I called our family pastor today. I asked him to come to the hospital and pray with my family. I do not consider this an odd request. Most of my extended family are Christians and with my dad near death, it was time to gather the family in prayer. Our family pastor is one of my best friends. I’ve known him for years. My family trusts him and at a time like this, you call people you trust.

Pastor Brad prayed for my dad. The room prayed with him. I watched. I always watch. Something deep inside me knows that I am not the guy who can offer spiritual comfort nor can I partake of it. I don’t understand it. I simply watch. After I hugged my wife. She provides all the comfort I need.

I called Pastor Brad during the 3rd quarter of game 7 of the NBA playoffs. I asked him to come, he did without any hesitation. He is a good man. I owe him. Next Saturday at sunrise I will play a round of discgolf with him. I intend to let him win.

I’m asked frequently about how I feel about prayer. My response is always the same. Prayer is something Christians do. I don’t think about it much. If I am in a situation where prayer is necessary, I choose respectful silence. It goes along with my live and let live philosophy. I don’t care about what other people do as long as the don’t compel me to participate or try to legislate their beliefs.

I don’t believe prayer delivers miracles, but I’ve witnessed it providing comfort to people overcome by grief or facing death. Tonight, I watched my dad agree to pastor Brad’s request for prayer. During the prayer, I saw a smile come to his lips and the tension leave his face. It was one of his last moments of consciousness. Does prayer work? To be honest, I have to give a qualified yes. There is no metaphysical component to it. The words and the people who speak them provide comfort. Some people need that, some do not. Prayer does not comfort me.

It’s 1:15 am. My dad lingers on the edge of death. I’m writing a blog post.

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