Quick... what movie is that from? :-P
Every time I feel like I know the limits of...
1) how much God loves me
2) how good life can be
3) how funny Ali and Ang are
4) how fulfilling my work is
5) how lucky we are to be having an EB free baby in 3 and a half weeks...
... God lightly puts me in my place by SMASHING those limits into little pieces!
He did it again today.
I was invited to sit in on the Palliative Care Team rounds this morning at the hospital. I am currently seeing one of their patients and having great success using music to dramatically decrease this person's pain, anxiety, and in particular, nausea. Well, I was given a royal introduction and treated with the utmost respect and appreciation from the doctor, the fellow, the resident, the student, the nurse, the chaplain, and both social workers. It was like I died and went to "inter-disciplinary team heaven."
Those who are called to palliative care have something in them - a certain type of compassion - that allows them to be with people in their toughest times, and in their last times. I felt it in me when my dad died in hospice. I knew that if I could use my God-given musical skills to be the soundtrack of someone's transformation from life to afterlife, well, that would be simply the highest use of my gifts on this planet. THAT is what set the wheels of music therapy in motion in me way back in 1997. It would take another 11 years to open my doors as SONIC DIVINITY Music Therapy Services, but those doors are open, and I get the privilege and honor of sitting in a room this morning with eight others who have found their calling on the same road. What an extraordinary group to spend an hour with. I was welcomed with open arms to attend any rounds I want. What an honor to serve their patients! To use music to heal, to silence pain with melody... I don't work. My mantra is, I get paid to play and pray.
Life is good.
One of my patients today had a bible in the room, and whenever I see a bible in the room, I always ask if the patient would like to hear some hymns. The patient agreed, and I played a series of hymns, including "Here I am, Lord." I was so moved by the lyrics today, I could barely get through the song without crying. Here's why...
I've stopped going to church.
Yup. There, I said it. It's my big secret. I just haven't been able to go back. We've tried it a couple of times, and it just drops off the radar. I make up reasons why, and all the while, we miss out on that wonderful feeling of coming together with a community of believers. I've been carrying some buried guilt about this, and today, as I sang this song, I really started to feel bad. In the verses, God is asking "whom shall I send to minister and bear witness?" to which the chorus replies, "Here I am, Lord." I started that old guilt trip on myself, when God essentially put his finger on my lips to say SHHH... and he said,
"Tim, it's 2 o'clock on a Thursday afternoon, look outside. See the traffic buzzing down the freeway? Now see where you are. You are EXACTLY where I want you."
"I guess I am here, Lord, you're right."
Even now, writing this, thoughts of "... but I still feel bad about not..." sneak in.
"There are plenty to minister music to the church on Sunday, but you were the only music therapist in UCI today."
What can we all take away from this?
Go wherever God deploys you, not to where you think you should go. If he sends you to a soup kitchen, go. To a homeless shelter, go. If he instructs you to give the bum on the corner your last 5 dollar bill, do it. Assist in a classroom at your kid's school... think that isn't his will being done? Think again. God appreciates us all coming together on Sunday, so long as we are deploying all week out into the field to be his hands on the ground. God is in every good thing, every good deed, every good thought, every good action, every smile, every eye contact, every "Hello," every generous compliment, every selfless act, AND every act of self care. Don't miss that last one. God doesn't need martyrs. Wanna care for God's people? Are YOU not one of them? Make sure to start with you. Care for God's people by caring for your SELF.