Friday, March 9, 2012

I Have Been Waiting for You...

I have spent my life waiting.  In my formative years, I was literally dragged through the mall by my mother, so my sisters could shop for clothes.  Waiting in stores that specialized in fashion for teen girls was equivalent to Chinese water torture.  And then I got married.  I soon figured out that it took my sweet little bride a lot longer to get ready than it took me to put on a pair of jeans and comb my hair. And then children came along.  Randall was born 8 days past the date that he was due. I have been waiting on that boy, and his two brothers ever since. Life is about waiting.

Tuesday night at the formal banquet for the law enforcement training conference that I hosted in Granbury we presented an award to a federal agent.  It is an Excellency in Chaplaincy award given every year by the South Central Region of The International Conference of Police Chaplains. This particular agent worked the bombing at the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.  Among other duties he assisted in the recovery of bodies from what was left of the structure.

There was a good group of trained law enforcement chaplains that served all of the emergency workers during the difficult days that followed that horrible act of terrorism.  An FBI chaplain from the Deep South by the name of Richard was among that group.  Richard was working the night deep night shift on one of those days. Little did he know that there was a federal agent longing to talk to a chaplain?  He had even requested the services of a chaplain.  That agent was struggling terribly with what he had seen and experienced in that building as bodies were recovered. Each of those victims had families.  Each of them had a story. Such a task impossible to describe.  There are layers of stress associated for emergency workers in such a setting.

About 3:00 a.m. one morning Richard was riding around the perimeter of the scene in a golf cart wearing a shirt and a cap that had “chaplain” imprinted on them.  He ran across a worker who was sitting outside the building with his head in his hands. The man was at his breaking point.  When the gentleman looked up, he saw a man with “chaplain” imprinted on his shirt.   This is what he told Richard:  “I have been waiting for you…”

I don’t know precisely what took place that in the wee hours of the morning on the property of what was then the Murrah Federal Building.  But I do know that the agent suffered seriously on an emotional level after that event. And I do know that the chaplain that stopped to talk to him that night has been one of his good friends since 1995.  I should point out that Richard's appearance was not planned. No one assigned him to the agent that was seeking a chaplain.  It was not a meeting orchestrated by man. 

I left the banquet that night so moved.  One thought kept running through my mind. Who is waiting for me?  As I drove home, I thought about all of the providential encounters I have had with people in need over the years. I assisted a suicidal girl in a 7-11 store late one night simply because I had I had stopped for a coke. There have countless other times that  I just happened to be where I should when someone was in need.  I realized there are more such encounters ahead of me. 

Someone is need. Someone is waiting for me.  May my daily morning prayer be: lead me to the person who is waiting for me…. I realize now that I am not spending my life waiting.  I am spending it serving those that wait for me to help…Life is about waiting.  And life is about serving those that wait as well. 

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