I had an odd experience today, my first day back in the office since I've been back from vacation. (Yesterday was a Presbytery Council meeting- snooze-a-rama...)
A woman in my congregation called this morning and asked me if she could come visit me "right now." When she arrived, she told me that her daughter, who lives in another state needed some parenting advice. She then took out her cell phone, which didn't phase me because this woman is always multi-tasking, checking text messages, etc. I didn't realize that she was calling someone until I heard her begin to talk to her daughter saying, "Hi, sweetie. Here, talk to Pastor Iris, she has some advice for you."
okey-dokey... I just looked at the phone that had been put in my hand for a second. I couldn't say, while she had her there on the phone waiting, "no, I won't talk to her," could I?
It was so awkward- "um....okay... Hi, I'm Iris, your mom's pastor....I've never met you, but can I give you advice about your child?"
Okay, it was a little better than that, but I was very uncomfortable with the situation. The call was short, as I am not a child psychologist and I did not know her! I encouraged her to seek out professional assistance in her area and I prayed with her before hanging up.
I didn't know what to say after the phone conversation was over. This woman was so happy that I had encouraged her daughter, so I just gave her the name of a church and pastor I knew in her daughter's town to pass along to her daughter, as she is not connected to any congregation.
I have offered pastoral care on many occasions to people I have barely met, especially as a chaplain. But, having this woman thrust her cell phone into my hand was just weird. And she was quick with that cell phone!
Has anybody else had anything like that happen?