On the receiving end of care

Published 3:25 pm Wednesday, July 27, 2022

For the last 20 days, I’ve been held captive by Doctor’s Orders and stuck in my house, recuperating from back surgery.  If you are looking for something amazing to do at the beginning of the summer, I don’t recommend a lower-back operation. It’s given me a lot of pain, but there have been a few other gifts along the way. There’s been quiet throughout the house. With that quiet has come solitude.  The first week or so, I had amazing all-day help from my family.  Lately, I’ve been spending most days with just my dogs and cat to keep me company until my wife gets home from work.

Through all of this, I’ve been accompanied by a most amazing gift: the love of the people of St. Peter’s. I may be biased, seeing as how I’m the pastor, but I don’t make it a habit of writing things I don’t believe in.  I’ve had surgery at other congregations I’ve served, and at no other have I been this cared for, this supported, and this loved. Most of my job as a pastor is caring for the people of St. Peter’s. It’s somewhat strange to be on the receiving end of such care, to have the roles reversed and to find myself being loved by 100 pastors.

It’s admittedly difficult for me to receive care.  I love offering care, and I’ve made a career out of it! Receiving it is a different story. It’s humbling, because it means people have to see you at your weakest. It feels strange, because this isn’t how it’s supposed to be! I’m supposed to care for St. Peter’s, not the other way around!

They have shown up in so many different ways, and I know my recovery wouldn’t have been as smooth if it wasn’t for the folks of St. Peter’s. This, perhaps, is the greatest strength of St. Peter’s. This is also the very thing that makes a pastor so proud! We have incredible music, a wonderful campus, and the greatest altar guild in the world! Even still, I’ve come to experience the greatest thing about our parish: we care.

We care about people who have been with us for 60 years.  We care about people who have been with us for only 60 days! Are we perfect? No! But here is a parish full of people who are trying to do their best in the world, and one of the ways they do it is by caring deeply and passionately for those in need.

It’s amazingly fun to brag on my congregation. It’s one of the best perks of the job! I say all this, though, not to just publically brag on St. Peter’s. I say all these things because, having experienced the love, I believe that the thing we are the best at is also the thing the world needs so much of: a community of love, care, and acceptance.

Set aside any Christian belief or doctrine that troubles you or is just too hard to accept.  If you are hurting or just want a place to find connection and care, you are welcome at St. Peter’s.  I know how hard it is to suffer alone, and I also know what it’s like to suffer while receiving overwhelming love.  St. Peter’s is a place where love is unconditional and requires no membership card. Wherever you are, I hope and pray you receive the love and care you deserve. Call me at 252-946-8151 if you need a voice of encouragement.  It’s what we do best!