i get the privilege of doing hospital visits every tuesday. i know some ministers don’t like visiting the hospital every week but i truly love it. the coolest things always seem to happen when you go to the hospital. you walk in at the right moment just when someone really needs another person there, or you get to remind people who feel all alone that they have a bunch of others who care for them, or you get to see how GOD brings HIS comfort and peace to a room full of chaos, or you simply get to eat the lunch that nobody else wants. sometimes they’re simple but profound joys. usually they’re just plain profound.
today i went to visit a church member who has recently had a stroke. he is recovering quite well but seems to have one problem that may be with him for awhile. we all have going on in our heads what some people refer to as an “internal dialog.” you talk to yourself in your head saying things that you actually do think but would never want to say to the people you are talking with. we hide these things because the people we are talking with are more important than actually saying these things. these are just fleeting thoughts and they don’t deserve the light of day. well this church member has at least temporarily lost his internal dialog and everything he wouldn’t normally say comes out instead staying inside.
so while i’m there asking how he is doing and telling him how things are going at church and with the people we both know and love he is busy blurting out what ever he is thinking. everything he says has to do with our conversation, they’re just not statements that you would normally expect to hear. he asked me about seafood and we talked about it for a little while. during the seafood conversation he blurted out that he has never liked his wife’s fish, in fact he thinks it smells funny. of course, she was right there beside me and heard it all. he then started asking me how things with the youth were going. when i started to tell him about what was happening with the youth he decided to ask me how old i was. i told him i was thirty-six. he responded by saying “you’re really old for a youth minister aren’t you?” when i responded with “yep” he then added “you better get out because you’re really old.”
personally i thought it was hilarious. he would tell me time and time again “i’m not trying to be mean or anything. some people say i’m rash but i just call ’em like i see ’em.”
of course, his wife was embarrassed at first. she’s used to this but she doesn’t liek for new people to go through it. i reassured her that pam, my wife, works with head injuries all the time and therefore i understand that this was something he couldn’t help. it was very cool to see her trying to protect him. she loves him in spite of the fact that he doesn’t like the way she cooks fish. she loves him for who he used to be and loves him for who he is now. other people may be put off by his crass remarks but she knows who he really is. she can tell when it is him talking and when it is merely the stroke saying things.