Well, this has been a day. I wanted to tell everyone, I’m just an intern!!
As I had communicated earlier, Rev. Dorman Savage is on his deathbed. I was just on my way out to spend some time with him and his family, when I got the news that another family in the congregation here in Limon had lost two young nephews in a car crash. Boy.
To anyone who doesn’t know, I am serving the Reformed churches of Limon and Karval as an intern, while I finish my Master of Divinity. So I’m a pastor, kind of. As such, I perform a great many of the duties of a pastor such as preaching, teaching Bible studies, and doing counseling. Fortunately, everyone here knows my status as a bumbling neophyte, and so they are very generous with my shortcomings.
Now grief counseling is something special of its own. It’s a real privilege to be with families and friends at such a time, to be someone who is welcomed when others are not. Sorry, we’re only allowing family and clergy in, they might say. And especially, to be given an opportunity to help people when they need it most. But it’s there that one feels especially inadequate. I don’t know what poor words of mine will really change anything. But of course that’s not the point, I remember. The important thing, I think, is that The Pastor is there, whoever it is. It’s a comfort to people to have the church represented at such things. And it’s not my words that matter, it’s God’s words, and so I read some Scripture and pray with people and I’m told that helps.
One thing I know for sure, I gained a great deal more from Rev. Savage than I can imagine he gained from me. To see a man passing on with such dignity and peace is a real witness. He’s lived as good a life as most anyone I know, and now he’s dying a better death than most anyone I’ve heard of.
Now the situation with the young boys- I imagine that will be a whole different kettle of fish. Dorman’s death has been expected for a while, and he’s lived a full life. So while there’s grief, there isn’t a lot of shock, anger or denial- all the things that may be present in the other situation. I don’t know the boys’ parents, but I may come to know them through this event.
Both situations at the same time are exhausting emotionally, but of course anything I may be going through in the exercise of my professional duties are nothing to what these families are going through.
One thought that went through my mind- I had been reading a lot of lyrics from a certain death-preoccupied ‘musical’ act (don’t ask- something in the nature of a research project). On the way back from one of these such visits, it occurred to me how very very little most of these kinds of pop acts, whether goth, or rap, or heavy metal or whatever, actually know about death at all- about as much as David Bowie knew about space flight I suspect.