Good Morning Doctor! - Chapter 35
By the nature of our professions, ministers and I have had many contacts through the years. I have worked shoulder to shoulder with the leaders of many faiths. While I ministered to the body, they ministered to the soul, they brought peace to the troubled heart, they gave courage to broken spirits.
Yet all the situations in which I have found myself dealing with these clergymen have not been without humor.
Once when I was operating, two priests were present: the one an older man, the other very young. During the operation I noticed that the younger one was sitting in a chair near the operating table, his head in his hands. From my heart I was grateful to him, for I felt that his prayers were very truly helping me. When the operation was over, I made bold to mention that help. "Me praying?" he asked, a little startled, "I'm sorry, doctor, I wasn't praying. I was just so sick I couldn't hold my head up!"
Another time I was going to operate on a patient in the country. When I arrived I found that the minister was already there. "Oh, you got here before I did," I said by way of opening conversation. With his fact, long and sad, he answered, "Yes, when I heard you were going to operate, I came over early to get the patient ready."
Quite an ordeal, my operations!
Once again, when I was returning to town after having been called into the country by the death of a patient, I chanced to meet the minister who was going to the same place. Shaking his head, after I told him of the death, he said, "First you, then me."
Not so long after I saw him on the street in town and we began talking. I told him I had just delivered a fine baby at the house of a couple he had married a year before, and then, just as he had said to me, I concluded, "First you, then me."
In these later years I have been led to a series of new and happy experiences by a young minister, Rev. John Clinton, now of Fayette, Iowa. When he came to our town some years ago he organized, among other things, a Boy Scout troop. He drew me into the work until one day I found myself figuring on how I could give the boys a meeting place in my home. I managed to arrange things so that I built a fireplace in one of the basement rooms and turned that room over to the boys. What fun I had with the boys! In fact, I enjoyed them so much that I began dreaming of something even bigger: a building for the boys! With the help of friends in Rotary I engineered that project so that just a few years ago we brought back John Clinton to help us dedicate a log cabin on the river bank, a cabin for the Scouts and for them alone.
On dedication day we built a log fire in the huge fireplace of the cabin and I stood before it, stretching my hands toward its inviting warmth. Yet I did not need the fire. Within my heart was a joyful glow which warmed me and thrilled me, for I had dreamed a dream and that dream had become an actuality, a cabin with doors and windows and a fireplace, a room where boys might come to gain knowledge and character. And it all began with a Methodist minister!