Friday, August 4, 2017


Once, when my parents were visiting from Illinois, I needed to run to the hospital to see one of our church members who’d had open-heart surgery the day before. My dad, who’s had a multiple-bypass operation himself, asked if he could tag along. He said, “Don’t worry, I’ll stay out of the way."

But when we got to the patient’s room, a powerful dynamic took over. When I told the man we were visiting that my dad had had the same surgery, he lost all interest in me [his pastor]. He turned his attention to my dad and started asking questions. The next thing I knew, dad pulled a chair up beside the bed and the two of them were sharing experiences I couldn’t begin to relate to. I had to smile as I stood back and watched the two of them bond. I knew I was observing the awesome power of shared suffering.

--  Mark Atteberry in “Free Refill”


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