Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
2021 Blog Number 48
November 29, 2021
You Did All You Could…
“You did all you could,” I said to a gentleman in my congregation two Sunday’s ago. We were talking over a cup of coffee following worship. His family sat around him. The man, on the brink of Thanksgiving, was grieving the death of a fourteen-year-old boy who was his neighbor and who played sports with his sons. Joe, the church member that I was speaking with, was a coach who administered CPR to the child who collapsed and ultimately died. Joe was feeling a bit guilty because the child did not live despite his efforts.
Tara, his wife and a trained nurse, quickly ran to the scene. She herded all of the nearby children outside for an improvised prayer circle as Joe, and then the responding EMT’s fought to save the boy’s life. Unfortunately, the CPR nor the prayers were able to save Aaron from death. Everyone involved had feelings of guilt and wondering if they had done enough. They all needed assurance.
I have been in such situations as a hospital chaplain. One evening I sat with a chronically ill girl, who was also fourteen years old. As she declined and her parents were in route, they asked a chaplain to sit with her. I prayed fervently that she would not die, or at least until her parents arrived. My prayers were not answered as I wished. She died before they arrived. I held her hand as she slipped away. I felt guilty and apologized to the parents that my prayers were un-answered. They assured me that I had done all I could do and they were grateful that their daughter did not die alone.
Sometimes, our prayers and best efforts do not get the results that we desire. Yet, by our presence, prayers and best efforts, we have “done all we can do.” Much of our efforts in many aspects of life, we don’t get the results that we want. Nevertheless, by our prayers and best efforts we have “done enough” and “done all that we could.” Perhaps that is the measure of our lives. Have we “been there” and “done our best?” Perhaps this ought to be how we evaluate our lives. Not results, which are often out of our control.
Now that Aaron has died it is the job of everyone who knew the family to be present, praying and doing our best to walk with his family through this time of grief. We all also have an obligation to be present for Tara and Joe and those children who witnessed this horror.
We must be present and do our best. Then we will have done all that we could do.
# JoeRivera #TaraFox-Rivera
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