Many times pastors make visits with people in the hospital who rarely, if ever, attend. So it’s not unusual to enter a room… introduce yourself… and engage in pastoral encouragements without knowing the family or patient. Then before leaving the minister usually always pray with the family. That was exactly the scenario I experienced yesterday… almost.
When I entered the SICU room I was not surprised that I didn’t recognize the patient or family because I didn’t recognize the name before I entered. The patient was asleep, so I talked just with the family. At this point it’s best to recount some of the conversation… (Real names not used).
Me: Good morning! My name is Ron and I am the pastor of Huffman Baptist Church…
Family: Oh… thank you for coming. We’re from out-of-town and came to see my son. We’re Presbyterian…
(Unimportant conversation not relevant to the story)
Me: Mind if I pray with you all before I go?
Family: We’d love for you to. But I don’t think my son attends church anywhere…
Me: Father… on Len’s behalf I ask… (Insert prayer not relevant to story). And Lord, I ask you to heal Mr. Smith according to Your will and in Your time. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Family: Thank you… but our name isn’t Smith… and his name ISN’T Len either!
Me: Uhh… what?
Family: Our name is Jones and he is Mike Jones.
Me: Uhhh… is this room #14?
Family: No… it’s room #15.
I don’t know what I said after that, but I DO remember thinking… “Is this the way ‘Old-Timers’ starts?” I do know I didn’t catch the hints… “We’re Presbyterian” and “I don’t think my son attends church anywhere.”
I stepped out of the room… asked the nurse where Mr. Smith was… she told me Lynn Smith was in the next room. Mrs. LYNN Smith… not Mr. LEN Smith!
Oh well… such is life.