Father Brendan’s Mid-Week Musings | OPINION

A doctor’s wife complained to her husband about him spending far too much time with his doctor buddies, gambling their wealth away, and that he should be spending more time at home with his wife.

The doctor stated “From now on darling, I assure you, I’m only going to go out at night for emergencies ... And only the really serious ones!” 

As they sat down for dinner the phone rang.

The doctor calmly answered it and heard the familiar voice of one of his doctor colleagues. “We badly need a fourth for poker,” said his doctor friend. “I'll be right over,” whispered the doctor. 

As he was putting on his coat, his wife asked, “Is it serious?” “Oh yes, really serious,” said the doctor gravely. “In fact, three doctors are there already!” 

A few years back I was in Asia trying my hand at missionary work to find out if I could cut it as a missionary.

I’m still here in Australia, so what does that tell you? Does it mean I’m not listening to God, or does it mean God isn’t listening to me?

Anyway, a lady who spoke English is showing me around the maternity ward and she points out this big sign up on the wall that reads: REMEMBER DOCTORS THAT THE FIRST THREE MINUTES OF LIFE ARE THE MOST CRITICAL. 

I joked to her “Did the people who put that sign up ever stop to think that the last three minutes of life are nothing to write home about either?”.

She laughed… well, she chuckled… same thing;  but within seconds I got all reflective, musing about home, hospitals, death and my aging parents. 

A time later, when I was home from my jaunt, I got a call from my oldest sister telling me Dad had collapsed and been rushed to hospital.

I was more than five hours away, so I found a church, went inside, and prayed. Just as I finished praying my brother rang and let me know I didn’t need to rush home as everything was good again with Dad.

Dad’s always cracked jokes about me being a hypochondriac, so I got on the phone and I used the opportunity to throw the same accusation back.

He was a little weak, but my brother said when the doctor asked my father “Mr Lee, have you been in hospital before?” he replied “Are you kidding? I was born in hospital!” 

So what did I learn from the above? That Dad’s jokes are funnier than mine? That’s a funny joke on its own! Um, sorry Dad ... I was only joking.

I learned that, although every three minutes of our life are important, the most important three minutes, three hours or three months are the times when people are most in need.

People will always notice your support or lack of support in their life’s trials, no matter how strong you think they are. Even Jesus on the day before he was crucified said to his friends "You are the ones who have stood by me in my trials.”

Jesus was thankful for their support, even though there wasn’t much they could say or do for him. 

Support is an important mission in life. Just being there, standing in the corner, isn’t mission impossible and is in the individual’s eyes being “in their corner”.   

If we are not there for people when they need us, then we are not there for them. If we are, in a very real way, that is being a “missionary”.

FATHER BRENDAN LEE, Twitter: @frbrendanelee