Story of the Day for Thursday April 12, 2012
“If People Could Just Be……”
In whatever way you judge someone else, you are condemning yourself, for you who pass judgment do the same things.
When I was a young pastor, the wife of a man I’ll call Mike Poganski phoned to say her husband was being transferred to a larger hospital in another town. Mike had already been in the local hospital with a serious condition, so this was not good news.
I jumped in the car and drove to the larger hospital. After getting Mike’s room number at the receptionist’s desk, I rushed off in search of his room.
I peeked into his room and noticed no one in the first bed. I knocked on the door and the man in the second bed behind the curtain invited me in.
“Hey, how’s it going?” I said. “It’s the Sunshine Committee coming to check up on you.”
When I saw Mike I did a double-take. Mike is a big man with a beard. This man was tall and wore a beard, but he was much younger.
Suddenly it dawned on me. When Mrs. Poganski called to say Mike was in the hospital, she didn’t mean her husband, but her son, Mike Jr. I wish people would be more precise about these things because it would eliminate needless confusion.
Luckily, I am quick at piecing things together and know how to roll with the punches. I had never met Mike Jr., but if his mom wanted me to visit him that was fine with me.
“Just talked to your dad yesterday. Have you heard how he’s doing today?”
“No,” he said, “I haven’t talked to him for over a week.”
That grated me. Your dad’s in the hospital and you don’t visit or even give him a phone call? That’s just not right. But I tried not to show my annoyance.
“Well,” I said, “I hope he starts getting better soon.”
Mike Jr.’s unenthusiastic response immediately told me he either had a falling out with his dad or he was lacking in his social skills. But I try not to judge people, so I let it go.
“Sure hope your dad gets better soon. We need him for the dartball tournament. He’s one of the best throwers on our team.”
“Yeah. Two weeks ago, he got two doubles and a home run.”
It’s not my place to criticize, but Mike Jr. was just not a very good conversationalist. I couldn’t get him to open up about anything. So, after asking him about his condition and how he was doing, I asked him if he would like me to have a prayer for him.
“Um . . . sure.”
I prayed, and as I was saying goodbye I noticed his plastic hospital bracelet didn’t say Mike Poganski Jr., but had someone else’s name printed on it.
I’m not the kind of guy who gets easily upset about trifles, but I think I need to write a cordial, but firm, letter to the hospital. When someone’s name ends in Jr., the receptionists should be trained to mention this. And nurses should always double-check the names on the bracelets so they don’t misidentify their patients. If people could just be a little more careful about these things it would eliminate costly or embarrassing mistakes.
(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)