Sunday, March 9, 2008


Last week we told another woman that there is nothing more that can be done. Cancer will kill her. We signed her up for palliative care. Yet another. I went back into the room after the doctor spoke with the woman and her son to help them organize the wheelchair, oxygen tank, and other accessories.

Her son reached into his pocket and stated "I'm going to give you this. It's not a ticket to heaven, but it will tell you how to get there." He slipped something into my hand. I put it into my pocket and politely thanked him.

I got back to the "control room" where doctors, nurses, and clerks gather and work together. I pulled out a glossy tract with a butterfly on the cover that stated "How to be Born Again." I was surprised that I felt somewhat offended.

I thought tracts were a thing of the past. I'm pretty sure that in our day and age, they should be. I mean, I think I have my faith mostly figured out. The basics I've got with lots of shades of grey in between. I love shades of grey - that's what makes faith personal. Most people know what they believe and what they want. I would gamble to say that 95% or more of our culture knows the Jesus story in some way, shape, or form. I don't think tracts will win anyone over. I think people's faith needs to be a result of their own personal struggles and searching. That's how people decide what they believe.

But mostly I wondered.. What makes me look especially like I need extra saving? The half dozen others who were in and out of that room for the patient visit left tract-less. But I got a-tract-ed. And irritated. Who would have thunk it?


Brenda Funk said...

You were probably the handiest person, the closest contact, and he was really feeling the pressure to "witness" to someone -- you were it! I agree, it's not a technique that would go over well with me -- maybe society has changed and it used to work well, or maybe it was always one of the easiest ways to "witness", not neccessarily that successful. Anyways, I think that before you can approach someone on a topic like this, you have to first be there friend -- only that's a lot harder, because it takes real investment on your part, time and caring and unconditional love. Much easier to hand out a "tract".

Amy said...

I agree with Mom, Val's Mom. :) I had a woman pressuring me to take her tract card at my work, even after it was established that we believed in the same God...(it sounds like the exact same card that you described actually..) a tract card is really inadequate, and cannot really convince a person the way a Godly life lived can. -- In this situation I think - that you are a very approachable person, even also too, that someone in his position is searching for a reason why his mother is going through such pain, and he's searching for it in a Godly perspective, so he thinks okay, maybe we are here because God wants us to be a witness to someone. Which, may or may not be true, I know my uncle has reached so many people on his hospital stays - nurses and other patients alike...but he did that on the level of a friend. I think this man had the right motives, but the real witness they can have is probably not found through a glossy bible card.

it's a gong show... said...

oh val, don't take it personally. i think if this man would've ran into me these past few weeks he would've had a truck load of tracts dumped on my driveway.

it takes an exceptional person to do the job that you do and if in that moment you didn't have your "game face" on and he thought you needed "saving" don't get down on yourself for that.

what you see everyday must be extremely hard to deal with and you are entitled to have off days. OR maybe this guy thinks along the lines of # of tracts handed out = chances of making it to heaven.

Anonymous said...

Oh Val I laughed when I read this post...I guess it's not really funny, but being the warped person that I am,it just made me laugh( I do find humour in the strangest things)...I can just picture you standing there, holding this tract, with a weird look on your face : ) Handing out tracts is easy....BUT comitting to someone and being a friend to that someone is so much harder, yet so much more effective....tracts are like people who are forever spewing Bible verses, but have no committment or compassion behind's all empty....tante L : )

Anonymous said...

Maybe he was just trying to tell you in the way he knew how at the time that his mom and he would be okay ultimatly because of their faith in God . Roselle