Every so often I become afraid that what I am doing with my life is totally irrelevant.
It happened yesterday. I had shown up on the doorstep of the home of a hospice patient for a previously scheduled appointment. Only two days earlier we had agreed on that day and that time, and so there I was, ringing the doorbell to an empty house.
It was the second time in only two weeks that this chaplain had found herself stood up.
I called the patient’s caregiver who of course apologized profusely and asked if we could reschedule. They were off having lunch somewhere and had just forgotten, nothing more. And they did feel terrible and I, of course, was quick to reassure them that they had a lot on their minds and not to worry in the least. (They did have a lot on their minds after all.)
When I walked back to my car and turned the key in the ignition, I thought, “Does what I do make any difference in people’s lives? Is it relevant?”
I didn’t answer the question for fear of what the answer might be.
But maybe the truth is that God doesn’t ask us to be “relevant.” Maybe God only asks us to be faithful- true, that is, to who God calls us to be wherever we’re planted.
For every moment that I’ve been stood up as a chaplain, there have been those times when someone has reached out with great appreciation, or remembered a kind deed, or shared something deep within them that they’ve never shared before. In those times, it wasn’t my own inherent “relevance” that made the difference- it was the synergy of God’s timing and my positioning that made all the difference.
Maybe the issue of relevance is really an irrelevant one.