It was one of those times in my ministry when I felt like I needed to take off my shoes because I was standing on holy ground, and it happened today while I was visiting with Perry in the hospital.
Perry: Well, Pastor, I’m ready to go.
Me: Do you think it’s time?
Perry: Oh, yes. It’s time. And I’m not afraid.
Me: Well, just because you think it’s time doesn’t mean that God thinks it’s time. We’ll have to wait and see.
Perry: Yes, but there’s nothing more for me to do. I’ve lived a good life. I’ve been blessed.
Me: That’s good to hear. We should all be ready to go like that.
Perry: Please just don’t tell Ev I said that.
Me: You haven’t said this to her?
Perry: She takes such good care of me. I don’t want to upset her. Every morning I wake up and I get out of bed and I get washed up and that’s all I have to do all day. She takes care of me all day long. She’s the best wife any man could ever have. I’ve been so blessed.
Me: And tell me again how long the two of you have been married.
Perry: I can’t remember. I think it’s something like 80 years.
Me: 80 years? Well, how old are you?
Perry: I’m 84. Is that right?
Me: If you’re 84, I’d say you haven’t been married for 80 years.
Perry: Well, no, that doesn’t sound quite right, does it?
Me: Not unless you got married when you were four.
Perry: (looking up at me with a broad grin, eyes glistening with tears) Well, thattud been fine with me as long as I coulda married the same woman.
And I lost it. Right there on the 10th floor of Carolinas Medical Center. Perry wasn’t the only one in that room whose life has been truly blessed by God. Who else has a “job” where they regularly get to hear people say such things?
So often, members of my congregation think of me as the one who speaks for God. What they don’t realize is how often I hear God speaking to me through them. Holy ground indeed.