When Oscar curls up on a patient's bed and stays there, the staff knows it's time to call the family. It usually means the patient has less than four hours to live.
This is Oscar. I heard about his story on CNN this morning and then read more about it here.
I'm going to the hospital this morning to make my weekly rounds. I don't know that anyone is in the hospital this week. But, I wonder about that connection between us -- that connection that allows some of us to be with the grieving and dying in those times. I don't think of myself as serving like Oscar. My prayers have never allowed someone to make peace with dying. My presence at the bedside of the dying isn't as natural for me as it is for Oscar.
But, in these last few days where I am the only pastor before the Senior Pastor comes back to work, part of me wishes for this gift to minister like Oscar. There are members of our church family that are unwilling to talk about death -- even though it is coming soon. I wish that I could curl up by thier side and allow them to make peace. But instead, I will bury a man this afternoon who never got to make that peace. I will stand at the graveside at a private service with his angered and relieved family. And I will be thinking about Oscar.