The problem, though, is not death. The problem is not even life. The problem is how to face the extremities of life or death. It is how to help others (our parishioners, for example,) look at life or death and not be overwhelmed by the impossibility or the horror of it all. It is to find a balance between anguish and serenity when perils of life or the certainty of death come knocking at our doors.
I used to be a pastor. My separation from the ministry is so recent that it doesn't seem real to me yet. It's like when someone close to you dies; often the denial phase continues long after the reality of the funeral. But it's true, and I must learn to accept it. I used to be a pastor.
We all recognize that our pastors need people who will accept them and enjoy them as they are, without either awe or arrogance in short, friends. And most of us would like to be friends with our pastors. But what exactly does it take to be their friend?