Yesterday I spent an hour of my life in the Emergency Room waiting area. A friend’s Mother was being admitted. Ours is a small town ER so I can only imagine what New York City, Chicago, Houston, or L.A. would be like but it just seemed like it took forever for anything to happen in there.
I was supposed to meet my friend to have coffee at 4pm and was on my way to meet him when he texted and let me know the situation. My immediate reaction was, “Man. I was really looking forward to hanging out with him.” But just as soon as that thought passed I began praying for his Mom as I made my way back home. About halfway through the prayer, the Spirit convicted me. He said, “What the flip phone do you think you’re doing? B is your friend. He’s also your pastor. Get over there and pray for and with him and his family.” Thank God the Spirit speaks to us.
It wasn’t that I was trying to avoid going. I simply had thought to myself that if B had wanted me there during this emergency then he would have told me to be there. But that’s what I do as a pastor, a chaplain – a friend. I go to where the hurting are and share – hopefully shine – the light of Christ. In an emergency, that’s even more needed. The reassurance that the Lord is sending people to minister to you on his behalf should be refreshing. I pray that it was for B and his family.
Once there, one thing kept entering my mind: what constitutes an emergency? Obviously, everyone who was trying to be admitted believed that they were smack-dab, in the middle of a major crisis or life-threatening emergency. B certainly believed that his Mother’s emergency should take priority over the other emergencies in that room (I agreed). But everyone was there for an emergency.
Triage wasn’t very impressive. It’s an understandable process but, nonetheless, it does not relieve the anxiety of those experiencing the trauma. Everyone wanted their individual emergency to take precedence over everyone else but how do you do it? I’d hate to be the crew that had to decide “who came first.”
What’s my emergency? What’s yours?