April 30, 2020by Reverend Dan on April 30, 2020
“Luke, the beloved physician greets you.”
Dr. Tingle was our “country doctor” when I was growing up. His family and my family were close friends, so I saw him often in social situations. We attended the same church, his wife gave me piano lessons once a week, his son and I played in a Christian music group together, since he and my dad went to rival colleges we went to college football games together. Plus, living in a small community we just ran into each other often. He was a wonderful man with a great family.
When I was sick, however, I didn’t see him in such a generous light. It was into the car and seven dreaded miles to his medical office in town or five miles to the one in the basement of his house. (Unless you were really sick, then he’d make a house-call.) His staff consisted of Jane, the office manager/receptionist who checked you in, and Mrs. Thomas, his nurse in that all-white uniform and hat. We’d sit in that waiting room looking at either “The Picture Bible” or the autographed picture, glove, bat, and baseball from our local hero in major league baseball. But all those things couldn’t distract us - we knew what lay ahead. Suddenly Mrs. Thomas would call your name and you would start that low moan - not quite crying - as you walked the last mile to the room. Then the thermometer . . . UGH. After that, you’d settle a little bit, but as soon as you got to the point you could breathe without that sucking sound you make when you’re crying, Dr. Tingle would come in, asking what was wrong. And except for the times when you had something like measles or chicken pox, the thing that “cured what ailed you” was held in a tiny little bottle, shaken and turned upside down. The low moan started again as you did an about face, and in a cruel, ironic twist of fate, the picture you stared into when the needle was stuck into that little bottle and then into your backside was a Norman Rockwell picture of a boy in the same position, reading the doctor’s credentials on the wall. No five- or ten-day round of antibiotics. One syringe full of penicillin. The only thing that saved the day was . . . that’s right. The sucker.
I thought about Dr. Tingle recently when I received a phone call from UNC Hospitals requesting that an upcoming appointment be done as a video visit. Things sure have changed. But not everything. Two-thousand years ago, Paul called Luke the beloved physician. Growing up, I had a beloved physician, and one of my best friends today is a retired beloved physician. (Try being out in public with him – everyone knows him and stops to speak – talk about beloved.)
All over this country right now, beloved physicians and nurses and medical personnel of all kinds are fighting a battle that three months ago no one could have imagined. They are working endless hours in conditions that would bring us “mere mortals” to our physical and psychological knees. On a daily basis they see pain, suffering, and death the rest of us can’t imagine, and then they don’t go home because they don’t want to chance infecting their families. So, they sleep in a strange place and then get up and do it again the next day, never knowing when this will all end.
Today please give thanks to God for the “beloved” medical people who are on the front lines fighting this pandemic. Pray that God will continue to give them the strength they need to go on and thank God for their mercy and compassion. And pray that soon they can find a chance to rest, renew, and be with their families again.
“Father, Thank you for the gifts you give to people in the medical profession, and for the compassion and caring hearts you have instilled in them. Be with them this day and every day as they serve you and us in Jesus’ name, AMEN.”