When I decided to open a practice, I decided it should have a different and distinctive look. Not just the same white walls and reception desk seen in almost every medical office be it dental, medical, or veterinary. The first impressions of my facility emerge as clients step into the reception area. The choice of decor and seating is imperative in making the right impression in addition to the comfort of my clients and patients.
As I wracked my brain and the Internet for design ideas, it hit me: build the reception area décor around the seating, which will be church pews. I have been in hundreds of veterinary facilities across this country and I have seen many a varied seating choice but never pews. Comfortable seating, a different, distinctive and wellmade design, and quite possibly a free to inexpensive choice, So where does one get used church pews? I googled church pews and found several manufactures and sellers. I also found out church pews are very expensive.
This discovery lead me to google used church pews. After all these years I am still amazed what can be found online. I utilized a site which list churches from across the country that are seeking and selling used pews. As I perused the listings, good fortune smiled upon my efforts. I found a church in Boca Raton that was replacing all their pews and selling the old ones. I sent an email to the minister in Boca expressing my interest in the pews and explaining my intended use. As I sent the message, I couldn’t help but wonder how he may feel about his pews ending up in a veterinary clinic.
The strange and unconventional nature of my choice struck me for the first time. I provided my contact information and asked the minister to give me a call at his leisure. A couple of days later, Pastor Mike contacted me. One of the first things he stated was how wonderful an idea it is to use the pews in my waiting room. I was happy with his approval of my intended use. I also took the time to let him know I was raised in the church and realized a pew was more than just furniture.
I assured him the pews would be put to a good and respectful use. He thanked me and we made arrangements to pick the pews up at the church in a couple of weeks. At the appointed time, the pews were picked up and I gave Pastor Mike a check as a love offering to his ministry. He thanked me and placed the check in his shirt pocked stating “This is a gift from our ministry to your ministry.” Thanks and hugs were exchanged, but the significance of his statement and generosity went over my head at the time due to my concerns and anxieties of moving 20 feet of pews down I- 95 on a Sunday afternoon in a pick-up truck ( For that story, please read my column “With a Little Help From My Friends” in the sfltimes on line archive).
Pastor Patrick included that story of the delivery in his Palm Sunday sermon. In telling the story, he praised me for having the insight to give the pew, which was imbued with such powerful and positive energy, a second life in an environment of healing. At that moment it all hit me. The comments of Pastors Mike and Patrick reinforced my feelings and expressions that the pews are more than just free and unusual pieces of furniture.
They are symbols of faith, hope, and healing: all conscious, active components and goals of the way I have chosen to practice and will practice veterinary medicine in this new facility. I will never again take for granted the spiritual significance of 25 feet of wood. One more event drives this point home in a way that brings tears to my eyes. After a challenging three day instillation process of my office security system, a terrific and persistent technician named Marty got the system up and running. During those three days, we discussed my choice of using the pews and Marty repeatedly expressed his approval.
After a last check and making sure I knew how to properly use and troubleshoot the system, Marty departed for his next installation. Thirty minutes later, he unexpectedly returned to the office. He once again expressed his positive view on the pews and returned to pray for my safety and success in my new venture. During his prayer, he requested I be “…given the insight and patience to listen intently and be slow to speak in response.” Powerful and salient advice for anyone, especially a doctor. All of this because of three pews. Amazing.