The zig zag up and down for Pastor Tom continues now into the sixth week of his hospitalization. The encouraging thing is that while the zigs up are not quick or as high as we would like that is balanced by the fact the zags down are significantly less "low" than previously and not happening as often.
Pastor Tom has been out of ICU for a week now and continues to improve in breathing and is able to take incriments more nutrition suppliments through his feeding tube each day. His latest snag is a significant urinary tract infection (UTI) which means he is now in isolation and back on large doses of antibiotics. As is often the case with a serious UTI he has experienced episodes of delirum and confusion. These dementia-like episodes will cease once the infection begins to clear up.
Sunday morning I made a pastoral visit to share a worship experience as he grieves being unable to be in church weekly . The confusion which began Saturday made the planned worship impossible, so I read scripture and shared prayer. I thought he was randomly calling out, "Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus" until he spoke a few more words and I recognized he was "singing" the chorus of "Savior Like A Shepherd Lead Us"! Taking his cue I began to sing the hymn and he joined in singing! It was not the full, rich baritone voice we are accustomed to hearing, but he was singing the hymn with me, both of us from memory. With the singing his figgeting ceased and he became very calm and focused.
For almost an hour we sang one hymn after another. Most of them I began and he joined in, but he chose two other hymns by starting to sing them and me joining in. It was a very special time of worship where words failed but music spoke loudly. Serving as a Pastor to my longtime friend and Pastor amazes me every visit...Pastor Tom even in his most vunerable moments is leaning on the everlasting arms trusting in God to carry him through. The thoughts and prayers being offered on his behalf are richly sustaining. With God's compassionate love the journey continues. Thanks BE to God! Pastor Dianna Niemann-Harris.