Yesterday I spend all day at the Baptist Hospital while Lana Tracy had surgery. The surgery was 6 1/2 hours long, and it appears to be successful. Don and Lana are some of my dearest friends. They have two of the biggest hearts I have ever known. Kevin Timblin and Jason Hylton hung out with me and Don during most of the surgery.
Don was so considerate of my time. He kept telling me to not "burn my day" by sitting with him. I stayed with him anyway - partly because I was trained that way, but mostly because Don is fun to hang out with. When I was a staff pastor at Cornerstone we were trained to stay with a family for the duration of a surgery. This has produced some long days at the hospital, but I have found these times to be some of the most rewarding days of ministry. Those long surgeries give me a chance as a minister to really get to know people and their families. We get way past the small talk, and really enjoy some good fellowship that passes the time during the surgeries. Of course, it is an honor to pray with the patients as well. Hospital visitation is one of the core values I think a pastor needs to stay connected to.