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Ár nDraíocht Féin
Three Cranes
Chaos Matrix

May 13th, 2006

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03:45 pm - I knew this clergy stuff would be one hell fo a ride. . .
I need to preface this with: No, no one is dead, nor apparently seriously injured.

This morning, when I came home, I was greeted at the door by Tina.

"You need to go to the hospital," she said.

I immediately became worried about one of my boys, or Infinity, or Hudson, but instead I learned that at around 12:30 AM last night, deuodatos had called and told Tina that his fiance had been hit by a car, they were at the hospital, and he wanted to know if I was ordained.

And that was the entire message.

I thought it through, wondering if I had his contact information, but even if I did, Tina said that he didn't have his cell phone. I no longer have his family's information.

So, not knowing what to expect, I prepared myself for the worst.

This is not the kind of call an inexperienced clergy-aspiring person wants to get. I was afraid that I would be in the position of having to preform a marriage ceremony "before it was too late," or give grief counseling that I wasn't trained to give. I was extremely worried that I would, eight hours after the call came in, be giving some sort of Druidic "last rites" to a girl I hardly even knew (I had met her once). I worried that their unborn child might be lost, and I might have to do a rite for a lost child. I worried most that I would have to do both, and I wasn't sure I was ready for that.

For as much as I was terrified and worried, though, I was ready to do any of those things.

My book of ready-made rituals was destroyed in the rains of ComFest about a year ago, and I hadn't started re-copying it yet, so I couldn't carry that with me. Instead, I grabbed my copy of Cei's Book of Pagan Prayer and stuck that in my pocket. I didn't know if I would need to present verification that I was clergy (I'm not yet, for those unaware) in order to see deuodatos or his fiance, but I prepared a story if it was absolutely necessary: he has called me as his clergy, and it was my responsibility to respond to that call, whether I'd been through an official ordination or not.

I arrived around 9 AM at Grant Medical Center, and asked about how to find the room they were in. I did not recall the name of deuodatos's finace, and the receptionist couldn't help me much without at least a first name. I gave deuodatos name and had him paged. Then I walked down to the emergency room to check with security there, and they directed me back, and gave me the location of all waiting rooms in the complex, which I then visited.

I was wondering how to get the room number when I called both romandruid to let her know (because deuodatos had asked about my ordination status, I wanted to talk to the actual Grove clergy) but didn't get in touch with her, so I left a message. I called Tina next and tried to get any more information out of her, and she was able to give me the time that deuodatos had called, and I told her that if romandruid called, she should give all the information she could. I was now out of quarters and could no longer call out at the random pay phones.

I walked back down to the receptionist and asked her to page again, and mentioned that they had come in before 12:30 AM last night. She paged him again, and I found a book of clergy sign-ins at the desk, and when I asked about it, I told her that he'd called me as his clergy. I mentioned that his fiance was not a member of our church, which is why I couldn't remember her name. She gave me a card stamped "clergy" and told me to use that if I ran into any flak for being there before visiting hours and to get out of the garage with no charge. She then found his room number: this was the first I'd heard of him also being a patient. Around that time, he called the desk and I spoke with him, and then went up.

I got up to his room, and he was standing out to greet me. We talked about what happened, and both of them, within two minutes were hit by seperate cars, her first and then him trying to help her. He told me that his family and her family had already both been there, and I appologized for how long it had taken me to get there.

He explained what had gone on, and told me that nothing was broken, but both of them were pretty sore. Their baby (now 8 weeks along) is also fine. We went to his fiance's room, and she was in remarkably good spirits and humour, though she was in pain.

I spent about two hours visiting all told, asked a few times if there was anything more I could do. I admit, I was somewhat relieved that I didn't have to bury or marry anyone today, but I was surprised to find that the idea, once I had gotten to the hospital, had ceased to frighten or worry me: it was something that, should I have to do it, I would simply do. I wasn't worried about my lack of credentials anymore: there's nothing illegal about helping people cross over or make a vow before their deities. I was set and ready to perform whatever function I legally could, and the laws governing marriage weren't really at the forefront of my mind.

Mostly, deuodatos and I just talked. We didn't pray, or work magic, or anything like that. We just talked. And I enjoyed it. It felt right, needed, and good. It was nothing that I was uncomfortable or weirded out by. It was, in the end, what I felt I should be doing there.

The biggest lesson for me that has come out of this, though, is that I absolutely must obtain a cell phone. I cannot be completely out of touch for eight hours just because no one knows how to contact me. I should have been at the hospital by 1 AM at the latest, but I wasn't. For those concerned, no, I'm not kicking myself for something I could never have truly anticipated: it's just a fact that I now know what I need to do that part of my job, both for the Grove and for myself.

I'm still worried about the cell phone causing me the serious issue of tying me down, and I have no idea how I'll manage to afford one (getting rid of the land line is right out for other reasons), but it's an expense that I have realized I absolutely must find a way to pay for.

I can't be unavailable for that long ever again. This sort of thing will only become more common.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: "Son of a Son of a Sailor", -JB

(16 comments Leave a comment)


(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:May 15th, 2006 02:35 am (UTC)
That is exactly what I do. I have i-wireless service through Cincinnati Bell, and it's worked great for me. You can buy a prepaid card at the grocery store, and it takes like two minutes to use it to recharge your phone service for three months (just like scratching off a lottery ticket). They give you a free voicemail box as well.

Not sure what options are available in your area, but prepaid generally seems like the way to go for light/occasional use. No contracts and no fuss.

Glad to hear everything worked out with your friends. Talk about scary.
[User Picture]
Date:May 13th, 2006 09:50 pm (UTC)
You done good. Sometimes folks just need someone to be there, not necessarily someone to do something specific.

Do you have my cell number? (If not, I'll email it to you.) Mine is just a GoPhone from Cingular. $29.99 and it comes with a $10 card.
[User Picture]
Date:May 13th, 2006 10:51 pm (UTC)
As far as I'm concerned, the self doubt is simply evidence that you care enough to do your very best.

Ya did good, man.
[User Picture]
Date:May 14th, 2006 12:19 am (UTC)
Wow, that's crazy. I am really glad you were there for them. Keep up the good work... it is excellent that you did that.

As for a cell-phone, keep in mind that it also frees you, too. You don't have to rely on other peoples' phones or a pay phone when you really need to use a phone, meaning that if your car breaks down you don't have to risk talking to somebody shady, or if you witness an accident you can immediately dial 911. I know I originally got mine in case of emergencies -- and it probably saved my life one particular stormy night on the highway. Cell-phones are freeing for events like these. They allow you to roam as far away from home as necessary without having to worry about not being notified of situations until too late.

Limit the number of people who know your number, keep it on silent most of the time, and just make sure to check for messages every x amount of time. True, that does require you to be on call for emergencies even when you want to have fallen off the face of the Earth for a while... but you cannot have both total freedom and committment simultaneously.

I'd also recommend the pay-as-you-go option... sounds like a brilliant idea.

Date:May 14th, 2006 12:39 am (UTC)
romandruid's suggestion of a pay-as-you-go phone is a good idea, especially if you're wanting to keep the monthly cost minimal. Another thing to consider is that as an OSU employee, there may be a 5-10% discount available on the cost of a monthly plan. I know that as a state employee, I get a discount. It is probably still less expensive to go with the payg plan though, if the monthly plans are as high as I suspect they are...
Date:May 14th, 2006 04:42 am (UTC)

Trial by fire

Well, Michael, good for you! What an amazing story. You know, I think you'd have done just fine if you had been forced to hold some sad rite. Don't under-rate yourself. You are more than capable, IMO!

A cell phone is probably not a bad idea, BTW. (grin)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
Date:May 14th, 2006 02:13 pm (UTC)
We need a new picture of you for your icon. With hair. :)
[User Picture]
Date:May 14th, 2006 02:09 pm (UTC)
Dude, I'm totally proud of you. You did everything right.

Mostly, deuodatos and I just talked. We didn't pray, or work magic, or anything like that. We just talked.

And that's what a lot of ministering is--probably 60%+.

[Disclosure--lotsa men in my family are priests.]
Date:May 15th, 2006 12:43 am (UTC)
How do I keep my cell from tying me down? I ignore it sometimes. That's probably not an option for you.

Glad you were able to get where you needed to go.
Date:May 15th, 2006 12:44 am (UTC)

where ignoring = keeping the sound off purposefully or forgetting to turn the sound on.
[User Picture]
Date:May 15th, 2006 01:24 am (UTC)
I'm very glad everything turned out ok!!!!!

But, this post does make me think. As clergy, I'm prepared to do what is needed....but you know, I keep all my rituals online. That is not going to help me at all if I get a call to help someone in the middle of the night.

Time to start putting that stuff to paper and keep it with me.

(Sacred Flame Circle/Temple)
[User Picture]
Date:May 15th, 2006 02:31 am (UTC)
as always Mike you remind me you are a good man. :)
[User Picture]
Date:May 15th, 2006 02:35 am (UTC)
I could always be a better one, but thank you.
[User Picture]
Date:May 15th, 2006 03:12 am (UTC)
I'm not sure this is the sort of thing one priest can say "good job" to another about, but you were there for people when you were needed and the lesson about the power of presence is a priceless one.

But yeah, you will need a cell phone. The prepaid kind wont hurt until you can afford something else (if you ever find you need something else). Stay away from Tracfone, IMO... rather pricey on the minutes.

[User Picture]
Date:May 15th, 2006 02:21 pm (UTC)
I'm glad no one was seriously injured.

I've seen some great suggestions for your cell phone situation. Another thing to remember is that many pre-paid ones have caller-id. Even though its in your hand doesn't mean you have to answer it!! People that call me know that the odds are I probably won't answer it immediately and to leave a message. I can check the message within a minute and find out if it was anything important and go from there.

The expenses are quite managable. Just shop around a bit and see what options are available for you.
[User Picture]
Date:May 16th, 2006 06:30 am (UTC)
wow. well it looks like you handled it well....

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