I wish you could have been at the last With Inc board meeting. Part of our mission is to be able to tell people in an elevator in 15 seconds what this ministry is about. We looked at each other, said “ Hmm” a lot, stalled for time, then asked Beth, our Executive Director, to always take the stairs. Which is to say we are still working on it. It did, however, bring to mind other times I saw something l couldn’t define but wanted to do…and have done for me.
I am a Pediatrician. That means I went through medical school with lots of role models, good and bad. One great role model was my Orthopedic Attending. We made rounds one day when we came to an anxious older lady who was going to have her hip replaced the next day. He came to her bedside, us trailing behind, when he asked, “ How are you doing?” A gusher of pent up fear, worry and pain rained on us for the next five minutes. I never heard a person of her age ever talk that fast, with such passion or urgency. He stood quietly at first, then, never breaking eye contact, pulled a chair over and sat with her for the next few minutes. He said “ It sounds like you’re worried” and “ I see”. He carefully put his hand alongside hers, not touching but available. He was present for her.
The gusher began to subside, the speed of talking slowed and, imperceptibly at first, then with a glow, a smile dawned on her face. She finally said all that she had to say. He said, “Is there anything else?” She allowed that there was not. He reached over, gently took her hand, patted it and said, “ We are going to take care of you. See you in the morning.” With that, he smiled, stood up, and walked out of the room. Those of us in the back heard our patient say, “He is the best doctor I’ve ever had!” She was crying tears of relief. Why? He saw her. He listened. He was present. He was with her, at one of the toughest times in her life. I didn’t know what to call whatever that was, but I knew it was a Master Class in it. And from an Orthopedic Surgeon! God does have a sense of humor.
With, Inc’s ministry is kind of like that. We sit with, listen and try to be present with those we are….well, with. We speak into the hard places of life when invited. We try to attune to you as you sit with your struggles. Yes, it’s hard to describe….. But you’ll know it when you see it. David Neall M.D