Pastors Keyboard: “The best laid plans of mice and men”. My dad use to say this quote to me all the time when I was a child, usually when I was upset because my carefully laid plans were not working out according to MY plans.
This past weekend I wrote to you about the planned vocations weekend I was to help with to encourage more young men to discern the call to the priesthood. I also had a packed schedule for the week after, along with a full day set aside to be with my family for my grandmother’s funeral…Then it happened. I woke up Friday morning and the entire world was spinning around me. At first, I thought it might stop after a little while, but it continued this way for so long I could not even walk. I texted my dad as best as I could, and he said it was Vertigo. He had it in the past and it would likely pass in a few hours. Not only did it not pass within a few hours, it had not passed in a few days. I’m still suffering from it. On top of that, I got a sinus infection. Suddenly a doctor friend made clear to me not only could I not drive, but I needed to stay in my rectory and rest all I could and walk and move around as little as possible while sitting in a chair… “all day”!
This meant I was not going to be able to help with the vocations retreat for the weekend, I was not able to meet with those I scheduled appointments for, and I could not even celebrate Mass or pray my Liturgy is the Hours for the first three days. It has changed everything, and I can’t say I’ve been very accepting of this. Then a priest friend called me who has been suffering with this for a month and a half. He reminded me that this too was essentially a call to “let go and let God” and to unite the dizziness, frustration, weakness, and change to my carefully laid plans up to the cross of Christ for reparation for my own sins and failings as well as for the redemption of souls. That, in the midst of this, lay an opportunity to trust more in the Lord and less in me. This is always a good lesson. While I can’t say this has made it easier, I can say that embracing these small crosses has been a grace to me.
Lessons so far learned: First, I’m always aware that there are those around me who suffer far more than I do. Second, this is a great opportunity to have my faith grow through daily stretching. Third, it’s a reminder I’m only human and I need to pace myself more (I can hear my grandmothers voice now). And fourth, no matter what sicknesses I must endure, no matter how far behind the eight ball I feel, no matter how useless I fell, no matter how unable I am to do one simple task, God Loves me and will give me all that is necessary and good for me and those I serve. So, once again, and constantly throughout the day, I say this prayer: “Jesus I trust in You, Help my lack of trust”! And to that may we all say an Amen!
Your brother and father in Christ,