Entertaining a Comatose Friend

By Don Swinney | November 1, 2014

One of the joys of pastoring a church, is you make some friends for life. Usually when you leave a church, you maintain lots of friends for months, but as the months turn into years they either die off or the friendships wanes and then dies. From one church, a special bond was made even thought they were 10 or so years older than me. He worked for an oil company. His job called for him to dump chemicals down into the wells. And yes you guessed it, they slowly over came him. He lingered for several years in a kind of a comatose state. You weren’t sure whether he was hearing you or not. He’d never respond. On two different Saturdays, once in San Angelo, Texas and the other in tiny little Sterling City, Texas the first in a big hospital and the other in a tiny nursing home, I took my guitar and sang to him all day long. Never knowing whether he was hearing or not. As I played and sang to him in the hospital, I noticed the door in his room was about one-quarter ajar. I didn’t care. I just went on doing my thing. After several minutes, a nurse appeared at the door. She was speaking to me, but I only heard, “this door…disturbing others.” I thought she was saying, “I’m closing this door because you’re disturbing others.” I immediately became combatant. I asked, “What?” She answered, “I’m opening this door so that others can hear. You’re not disturbing others.” Exactly the opposite of what I thought she was saying. I have thought how neat it would be if someone in heaven walked up to me and said, “I was in the hospital the day you sang to that man, and I was blessed by your singing.” After my friend passed on, his widow came to me and said, “I want to buy you a new guitar, regardless the price.” My wife sat with her until she passed on.