I’m certain that I’ve previously written about this topic, but after last Saturday morning’s experience, I believe that I should offer this reminder for your prayerful reflection again.
Like most clergy, I am deficient when it comes to self-care. Thus, with some annoying physical symptoms appearing, I postponed any trip to the doctor with the illusion that this would go away on its own. Of course, it did not. Saturday found me at the emergency clinic being tested for the possibilities of something potentially serious. Fortunately, none of those issues are of any concern; however, and totally from “left field,” I was asked to submit to another x-ray because there was a spot showing up – something serious and for which I was completely unprepared.
So I waited in the quiet for the next 12 minutes (only seemed like 12 hours) to hear whether this “spot” was a fluke or something that required immediate attention. In that time, I reflected not only on the plans for this year, but also the now available time to spend with JoAnne as she has pretty much recovered from her own surgery.
Not only was I planning the “what-if’s,” I was also ruminating over the “what-I-haven’t-done’s!” What of the opportunities for spiritual and personal growth I’ve let pass by? What of the chances to reach out to those whom I have hurt, even if unintended? What of all the times I might have tried something new but failed to do so either because I didn’t want the hassle of listening to the predictable complaints or because I want complete assurance that something new would work before I change course? How have I wasted time when it could have been spent living out the Gospel mandate of doing good for those less fortunate? So much wasted time that we never get back.
Bottom line: the “spot” was not real – and while I have no idea why my body projected a nonexistent image, I am obviously relieved. But now, what should I be doing to avoid such regrets? Did God send me a “wake-up call?” Perhaps. – Fr. Joe