For the third time in a week, Ed Hastings burst into my office with a health crisis-only this time, it was really serious. He threw his arms around me and began to weep. "Pastor Matt," he choked, "you better start planning my funeral. I think I have AIDS."
As it turned out, Ed had never engaged in high-risk behavior nor been tested for aids. It was simply Ed's way to up the ante on his personal problems.
So as he clung to me, sobbing and shaking, I began to mentally list his other ailments. Over the past seven years, Ed had called the Mercy Ambulance crew for a half dozen alleged heart attacks (one during a worship service), two cases of dehydration (he forgot to drink), an ulcer, and a possible hernia (it was just a pulled groin muscle). I also recalled my tri-weekly sessions to deal with Ed's depression, addictions (including pot, sex, alcohol, prescription drugs-to date), suicidal thoughts, relational crises, employment struggles, family problems.
For six years I had ...1