Originally posted Sept. 10, 2012, at Country Preacher’s Corner. Republished with permission of the author.
She walked into the church office needing assistance with her light bill. Normally, folks walk in and head right out after dropping off their paperwork. Not so with her. She was winded and needed to take a breath, so I stayed and talked with her.
She told me about her circumstances. She’s been on disability since 2008. She had worked as a nurse’s assistant in one of the local nursing homes and had taken care of a lot of folks.
But tragedy had struck her family. Her oldest son had suffered some sort of brain injury. Carbon-monoxide poisoning, I think I heard her say. Somehow, his lungs had suffered, and he was now on life support in Houston. Several times they had tried to wean him off. All had failed.
Tears welled up in her eyes, “Every day, I wake up and I don’t know if I’ve lost him.”
She had never had problems paying her light bill before. Her son had always taken care of her and seen her through. His hospitalization had affected her dramatically — not only mentally and emotionally, but also in being able to take care of herself.
She had talked to the electric company, and they had carried her for a couple of months. I gave her the maximum I was authorized to give. It fell short a little of the total amount needed, but if necessary, she can come back. Perhaps it will stay the electric company’s hand for just a little longer.
I do not often get to sit and talk with those who are in need. This time, it was more than a handout. This time, it was true ministry. This woman didn’t just need money. She needed a chance to talk, a chance to grieve, a chance to have someone tell her that prayers will be offered for her and her son in Jesus’ name. Ali Lewis will be in my prayers for a while now. His mother, whom I met, will be as well.
As she stood to leave, thanking me profusely, I asked her, “Can I give you a hug?”
“Hang in there,” I said. “I wish I could make it all go away. Jesus was able to do such things, but I’m not him.”
Yes, I wasn’t Jesus, but I surely met him, and the combined efforts of those in my congregation who give to our Community Care Fund cared for him in a small way today.
Such encounters are part of the reason we give of what we have received.
Find a link to Kevin Haug’s blog Country Preacher’s Corner at Lutheran Blogs.