He was in a hurry, late as he often was, to an event of unknown purpose at the school of one of his kids. The promise he made to attend had been vaguely given, his attention elsewhere when he made it. Now he was speeding, caution completely abandoned, the GPS mechanically calling out instructions, hoping to arrive in time to talk to his wife. Just today, he realized, she was pulling away from him, emotionally distant. It wasn’t a sudden thing, he just had been too busy to notice. They needed to talk! He would promise to do better, to be more available.
Arriving at the school, he rushed in without any idea where to go. It was a new school. He had never visited it. After collaring anyone who ventured by, he finally found the right hallway and discovered the crowd was already filing out of the auditorium. Scanning the people anxiously looking for his wife, he felt like a teen hoping for a view of THE girl, the one he had a crush on. There she was! Engaged in an apparently serious conversation with a female friend, her face clouded with concern, she looked up as he called her name. The usual smile, that glance of pleasure with which she normally greeted him was not there. Instead he received a rather stern look of annoyance and the resulting conversation went down hill from there. There was no room left for him in her life. The conversation ended angrily.
Frustrated, shaken, and anxious, he sat in a chair in the lobby of the school wondering how he could save things. Counseling maybe, get her to see reason.
“Dr Jerry Brand?” He looked up to see a large man, obviously blue collar, standing in front of him.
“Yes, I’m Dr. Brand. If this is a medical problem and you want assistance, see me at my office. Otherwise, I have a lot on my mind right now.”
“Is Bellevue a good hospital?” said the man, taking a seat next to him and leaning forward, obviously seriously concerned about something.
“It’s a fine hospital, why?”
“I think my wife has been misdiagnosed. We need help.”
Feeling suddenly relieved to be consulted on a situation about which he had both control and confidence, Jerry Brand asked, “What are her symptoms?”
Listening to the description of her illness and after asking some questions, the medical man was certain. “It’s sepsis. Start a course of antibiotics.”
“Yes, yes, that’s what our Doctor said, but they aren’t working. She isn’t improving. She’s getting worse.”
“Probably a bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics. She needs to be evaluated and soon. Sepsis can get out of control.”
“The hospital won’t listen. No one will listen. Can you come quickly and talk to them? I know they will listen to you. You are highly respected there.”
“Who is her Doctor? I’ll give him or her a call.”
The man looked flustered, “His name is on her medical records, I’m sure. Can we go right now? I’ll drive you to her and I’ll drive you anywhere else you wish to go afterwards. My car is idling right outside the front door. Can we go? Now?”
Jerry Brand saw himself as a decent man and he genuinely liked being important and “saving the day.” The thought of doing a good deed for this guy and burnishing his credentials as a man of the hour at Bellevue was appealing after being so suddenly and unfairly rejected by his unappreciative wife. So he went along.
The man was clearly an expert driver and navigated the traffic with ease born of confident experience. Jerry focused on his cell phone, pondering who to call to convince his wife to reconsider. She wasn’t answering his calls. How did she think she could replace him and his salary? The woman never did grasp the effort required to earn the dollars he provided. When they were gone, she would find out. Reject Dr. Jerry Brand? What a fool she was!
They pulled up to the building and Jerry looked up and snapped, “Wrong building, you idiot! This is the morgue.”
“Yeah, I know,” the man sighed deeply “Funny isn’t it that you never asked MY name? I wonder if you knew hers? My wife was YOUR patient, Dr Brand. She died this morning. You couldn’t be reached. You could never be reached. Too busy, they said. You are a very important man.”
This little story is based on a dream I had last night. It had no dialogue so I added some although I do not pretend to be a writer of novels and dialogue. I am not certain of the relevance of this dream to my life at the moment although I can say that it certainly was spot on in my life a long time ago. Maybe it is relevant to someone else?
This earth on which we live is transitory. Nothing we acquire here will last and none of it will go with us in the coffin. This despite the ancient and still present practice of putting material things in coffins as if the body will awaken and find the item nearby and use it. (In that case, place in my coffin: a light source, a cell phone, several batteries, a hand crank battery charger, the proper USB connections and cords and a tank of oxygen. I’ll call you.)
All that matters are the people we love and those who love us. They are eternal. The pursuit of pleasure and material goods is empty and goes nowhere. Don’t lose what matters in order to gain what does not.
Jesus said to sell every THING we have to gain that which is priceless. Pursue the priceless. The eternal relationship with God in Christ is priceless. It cannot be purchased but it’s worth everything we have and more. The irony is that God gives it away to anyone who truly wants it.
Matthew 13:45) “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46) and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.