No one knows the day or hour. The angels in heaven don't know, and the Son himself doesn't know. Only the Father knows.
~ Matthew 24:36
I spend one weekend a month and every Tuesday evening on call. I laugh and remind folks that I like the "Tuesdays with Morrie," but in my case, it is "Tuesdays with Todd."
Being on call means that I am available to respond to hospice patients, their families, and our staff. I don't always know what the need may be, and because I have four other chaplains I work with, there is a good chance I haven't met the patient or the patient's family when I respond to the need. The call comes when there is a crisis, someone dying, or that someone has died.
Someone recently asked, "How do you have any kind of a 'normal' life when people are always calling you because there is a crisis?"
It's funny how this is such a part of my life that I don't think of it as being out of the ordinary. Even my own family finds my getting up in the middle of the night sometimes to go be with someone as somewhat "normal."
Even this morning as an update was emailed to staff, the sound of the notification caused me to roll over in bed and read the note to see what was going on, and then to roll back over and go back to sleep, but not without thinking of the situation, and praying for those responding, without even realizing that this is what my life being on call is about.
I will admit that some nights are exhausting, and some nights, especially when I first started living like this, I would lay awake for hours, waiting for that call, while living in fear that I would miss a call or an email. These nights often would remind me of when our children were very young, and the three am cry, no matter how loud or soft, was a call that would pull me from my sleep.
This morning as I read an email, and realizing that I didn't need to do anything about it, I just found my mind drifting, thinking about many things. I thought about the folks I have spent time with this week, my schedule for tomorrow, then thought of my kids and grandkids, and on and on.
Sometimes I struggle to just to allow rest to enter my mind, but I am reminded that we are to remain ready. Scripture reminds us to be aware. To remain faithful. To be ready!
None of us know exactly what God may call us to do on any given day, or for some, any given moment. Jesus in his sharing describes being ready for his return, although even he shares that he doesn't even know the day or the time. For me, I look at this not so much a warning, instead as a call to simply be ready.
There exists the need for us to ponder, pray, and to be ready for the day ahead. To consider options, and to think about what God wants from each of us. We must remind ourselves that being ready also means that we have to make ourselves intentionally available. My time of being on call has become normal because it has become part of my routine.
For any of us, becoming available for God's calling in our life begins with us making ourselves ready.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
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Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.