At 10:30 this morning I picked up my cell phone to call Barney. I knew his daughter, Alysia, had gone in for a routine tonsillectomy early this morning and I wanted to check on her. Just as I was scrolling down to his number, my phone began to ring: it was Barney calling me.
“Hey, Barney, I was just getting ready to call you….”
“Pastor,” he interrupted, “we’re in trouble. Before they could do Alysia’s surgery, she stopped breathing and her heart stopped beating. It seems okay now, but my daughter almost died. They’re taking her to ICU right now. I don’t know what to do.”
I hurried over to Hurley Hospital and went right into the ICU. Alysia was doing better, but her blood pressure was still very low, and her heartbeat was racing. After spending some time talking with the nurses and praying with Alysia, I slipped out so her Mom, Maria, could stay with her, and I went back out to the waiting room to see Barney.
“Barney, I think she’s stablized now. It’s going to be okay. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“Yes, Pastor, would you pray with these kids.” He motioned to four crying teenagers sitting together in the opposite corner of the waiting room. “Their friend, Christopher, just passed away. I’ve been talking to them, but I would really like you to pray with them.”
Pray with them?!? His daughter is laying in an ICU room, and he’s concerned about some teenagers — whom he has never met before — in the midst of their grief. Wow! I immediately thought of the Apostle Paul’s words, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). Jim Collins writes about The Genius Of And, and Barney beautifully exhibited that. He was both concerned about Alysia and Christopher’s friends too. In my trials, how often do I become completely self-focused? Thanks, Barney, for a great example of Both-And compassion in action.