In reviewing my schedule last week, I noticed one glaring omission. At the moment I was rather shocked at this lapse, however, I took some comfort in the fact it was not intentional.
The lapse in our week was a romantic evening just for the two of us. Everyone knows a week without romance can be a dull week. As a general practice, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly try to set aside some time, be it ever so small, for some level of romantic interlude. There are time, however, when due to a demanding schedule a week will slip through our mutual intention.
Immediately we set out to clear our schedule, a Herculean task to be sure, and set aside Thursday evening as our romantic hiatus at the parsonage. Because I had a few days notice, I decided to surprise the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage with her favorite ice cream cake.Late Thursday afternoon I picked up the ice cream cake specially decorated for the occasion. I was looking forward to a special, relaxing evening at the parsonage.
Just as I drove out of the bakery parking lot, my cell phone rang. My wife informed me that Philip had been rushed to the hospital emergency room, she had no further details. I looked at my watch and calculated that it would take 15 minutes to drive to the hospital, 10 minutes with Philip and another 15 minutes to return home. It was 4:45 and I could be home before 6:00.
Hanging up the phone, I turned my car toward the hospital. Driving out of the parking lot, I had a nagging feeling I was forgetting something. I mentally reviewed my 'to-do-list? and could not find a single omission. And yet, there was something I should be doing but for the life of me, I could not put my finger on it.
Pulling into the hospital parking lot, I put that nagging thought out of my head and focused on the more important work lying before me.
When I got to the hospital, I went straight to the ER and inquired about Philip.
?Yes, Philip,? the nurse quipped, ?is in room 15.?
Knowing the drill, I went to room 15 and to my dismay, it was empty.
?Oh, Philip,? another nurse said ?has been sent up to room 318.?
I threw a 'thank you, ma'm? at her and headed for the elevator.
By this time, I was so occupied with thoughts about Philip I temporarily forgot about our plans for the evening back at the parsonage.
I walked into room 318 and discovered that either Philip had a sex-change operation or, the person snuggled down in the bed in room 318 was not Philip. I latched on to the second thought and headed for the nurse's station.
For the next 2 hours, I searched in vain for Philip. He was nowhere to be found in that hospital. I was beginning to think I was in the wrong hospital. Then, fortunately for me, I remembered that although everyone called him Philip, it was his middle name. His first name was Michael.
It is amazing how using the right name opens up all the right doors. In a few minutes, I had located the ever-elusive Michael Philip Jones. He was in room 622 and I spent a few minutes with him reading some scripture and then had a time of prayer with him.
Walking out Philip quietly said, 'thanks, pastor, you?ll never know what this means to me.? This is usually all the gratification a pastor really needs.
I left Philip's room with a marvelous feeling of accomplishment and headed for the parking lot and my car. Pulling out of the hospital parking lot that old nagging feeling returned. I could not for the life of me figure out what I was missing. I just knew it was something.
As I pulled into my driveway, I glanced at my watch. It was just a little after 7:30. Reaching for the door to exit the car, it finally dawned on me what I had forgotten. The ice cream cake. There it was on the front seat and I noticed around one corner there was some leakage. I opened the lid and, as I thought, the ice cream cake was completely melted with tiny bits of colored icing floating on the top. The ice cream cake had been in my hot car for almost 2? hours.
The inevitable had become uneatable.
Carefully, so not to spill anything on my car seat, I carried the thawed ice cream cake surprise, into my wife who thought it the funniest thing she had seen in a lifetime.
Intentions are good, even those that do not turn out as expected. It truly is the thought that counts in many cases.
Putting her resourceful mind to the task, the Mistress of the Parsonage pulled this disaster out of the proverbial dumpster and rescued the evening as only she could.
The incident reminded me of what Paul, the Apostle said. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13 KJV). If you don't give in or give up, there is always a solution to every quandary.
Romance is two people in love with two straws sipping liquefied ice cream cake out of the same box by the light of flickering candles. Romance is not defined in a day or even an incident, but a relationship that endures these things and more.
Copyright, Rev. James L. Snyder
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