Over the last few years, I've talked with a handful of people who were interested in full-time ordained ministry, and on almost every occasion I've had to field the question, "what is a day like as a priest?" Most often I say, "it is different everyday." Today, though, I'm thinking that today is the example I'd like to give. So while the circus in Anaheim gets the headlines, here is a day in the life of an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church.
4:30am - the alarm goes off. it is way too early. baby and wife are up already (baby is hungry) still it is way too early.
5:30am - hit the road for the 50 minute trip to Baptist Hospital in Pensacola, FL.
6:00am(ish) - see the sun rise over Perdido Bay - breathtaking!
6:20am - arrive at Baptist Hospital just in time to catch D being rolled from pre-op to the OR a full 1 hour and 10 minutes before her scheduled surgery. Anoint D with oil and pray in the middle of the hallway with disgruntled orderly waiting impatiently beside.
6:27am - arrive with D's husband at the Baptist Cafeteria for breakfast - they don't open until 6:30.
6:30am - load up a tray with powdered eggs, salty grits, sausage and coffee and enjoy stories from D's husband about life as a Navy Bombardier.
6:50am - notice lady standing awkwardly next to the table and ask her what I can do. "are you a priest?" she asks.
<-- I look like this, and so my answer is of course, "yes ma'am" "can you visit my dad?"
"sure thing, it'd be my pleasure."
Get dad's room number and name and finish breakfast with D's husband.
7:30 - leave D's husband in the surgery waiting room to visit random woman's dad. we pray, he begins to vomit profusely. Daughter asks if I have oil. I do. Anoint dad, pray some more, he vomits several more times. As I prepare to leave, dad looks up from his bucket and says, "you're a catholic priest right?" daughter says and I echo, "yes." (Not really a lie as I am ordained a priest in Christ's one holy catholic and apostolic church).
7:50 - return to surgery waiting where phone call comes in that D's surgery is just starting a full 20 minutes late.
8:00 - meet man sitting next to D's husband whose wife is also having surgery, who is also catholic and thinks I am too.
8:05 - D's husband asks about my wife and daughter.
8:15 - leave D's husband again to head across town to Sacred Heart Hospital where another parishioner was admitted yesterday.
8:30 - arrive at Sacred Heart, visit with, laugh with, talk seriously with, and pray with B.
9:15 - leave B and his wife to return to Baptist.
9:30 - arrive back at Baptist. On the way in, encounter two men who need money for a bus to the food stamp office. Having no cash, I say, "sorry, but God bless you."
9:35 - return to surgery waiting room where D's husband has been joined by Third Born Child - surgery is complete, all is well, waiting to meet D in recovery
9:45 - I excuse myself, after checking in again with guy sitting next to D's husband about his wife, and return to car for 50 minute drive to office.
10:40 - arrive at office, send flash email message about Thursday's men's dinner. Meanwhile, the rector is working on getting some new shoes for the transient who has been using our chapel as a safe haven when storms roll through. Rector leaves to get shoes.
10:45 - rector calls to say his wife is ill and he needs me to tak over the shoe mission.
10:55 - pick up P to head to Wally-World for new shoes.
11:15 - leave Wally-World with new shoes and head toward the beach where P will spend his day. He plays me several nice harmonica tunes on the way.
12:30pm - arrive home for lunch.
1:00pm - drop second car off for tire repair, walk to office, and, as usual, end up in a good conversation about the scriptures of Sunday with the rector.
2:00 - help parents fax some stuff
2:15 - sit down to blog
2:33 - finish blog and consider heading home, but remember that car is still at shop. d'oh!