Pastor’s Corner: Real Problems

February 7, 2018

I’m afraid that there are times, in the busy life of the church, when something falls upon my ear and I mutter (silently, thank the Good Lord) something like, “Oh, my. Can we work on a real problem, please?”

I’m not the only pastor to do it. Other colleagues have confessed to the same. I suspect that most people say something like it from time to time. Somebody complains about something that strikes us, in the moment, as trivial. “Oh,” we sigh. “Come back and talk to me when you have a real problem.”

A real problem.

There are plenty of real problems in the world. Just this morning I’ve been thinking about a real person who’s homeless. I’ve been thinking about someone else who can’t find a way to relate effectively to the world. I’m thinking about our Interim Conference Minister, the Rev. Gabrielle Chavez, whose mother died last fall and whose father passed away on January 31st. I’m thinking about specific people who are struggling to recover from falls and surgeries and infections, and others who are coping with chronic conditions that have changed how they live their lives. I’m thinking about people I know who rise in the morning not knowing whether they can have a good day. I’m thinking about people who may never fully express their talents because of others’ limited expectations.

You know, real problems.

The other problems, though: they’re real problems, too. I may not consider something important, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. It might be important because it feeds (or wounds) this other person’s spirit. It might be important because I don’t understand the full dimensions of the problem. It might be important because I’m simply wrong.

I’m all for perspective on my own problems. It’s important for me to make decisions about what’s urgent, and what’s important, and what is neither. That helps me get through the day.

But for others’ problems: They’re all real problems until they tell me different.

With aloha,

Pastor Eric


Categories Pastor's Corner Reflections | Tags: | Posted on February 7, 2018

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