Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Broken Hands and Hospitality

On Sunday, our pastor broke his hand while opening the door to welcome people before the worship service.  Somehow it got caught in the handle and bent the wrong way; it's hard for me to visualize it.

What's even harder for me to visualize is that he kept going, through the worship service, through the memorial service that came after the worship service, and the covered dish dinner that was a tribute to the parishioner for whom we had the memorial service.  What a trooper!

My poet self now stops to ponder that phrase that my parents always used when they admired someone who kept going even when circumstances might have dictated stopping.  A trooper--I always assumed it had militaristic origins, but as I typed it, I thought about state troopers.

My poet self also thinks about the fact that our pastor broke his hand while extending hospitality.  Luckily he broke his non-dominant hand.  My poet self also considers the fact that a door broke his hand.  Doors and hands and hospitality--I feel a poem lurking.

My practical self tells my poet self to knock it off.  Sometimes a door is just a door.  Sometimes people break their hands, and it has nothing to do with larger issues of hospitality.

I've wrestled with that door many a time, and I'm not surprised that it broke a bone.  My practical self wonders what kind of message that door sends to visitors.

Perhaps visitors don't read as much into the facilities as I worry that they do.  My church, like many others, does not have extra money.  We can't replace doors and bathrooms and other dated interiors, just because visitors might find them more pleasing.

And then there's the part of me that laughs at our larger world.  We see danger lurking in all sorts of situations:  airports and dark streets and stock markets across the world.  We so rarely anticipate the menace that might reach out and bite us.

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