Tuesday, August 19, 2008

First Day Back in the Office...

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?


Sarah S-D said...

super strange, pretty uncomfortable... sounds like you handled it as best you could.

i do know that the first day back from vacation usually did present some doozies... and i certainly found myself backed into or tricked into certain pastoral care situations. sometimes they ended up being real moments of grace, but sometimes they were painful.

welcome back!

Unknown said...

What a weird thing!

Anonymous said...

nope... can't say that i have. but... i hope that i handle it as well as you did... if that or a similar situation ever arises!!!!!!! dang... 1st day back????

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

Geeze Louise! Can't say that I've had that happen, but I have had someone bring a friend in to the office so that I could talk to them--no appt.--just "Suzy Q. needs to talk."

Rev SS said...

What a "welcome home" visit that was. Nope, haven't had that one happen to me .... yet.

Anonymous said...


you are amazing--you seem to have a gift for handling crazy situations!

i hope the rest of the week has been better!

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

a little strange... but on the bright side she felt comfortable enough to come to you!

Crimson Rambler said...

it sounds to me like a variant on "Let's You and Her Fight"...I did once have a grandmother come and try to arrange a private baptism for her grandson the next time she was looking after him for the day...because his other grandmother belonged to a different denomination, and wanted the child baptized at HER church. And we could just do this without mentioning it to the little boy's parents.
I didn't do it.

Anonymous said...

cricky. how presumptious of her!