I have just re-read the entries below and there is little change. It appears that for 2 months now (longer) I have been struggling with my inability to do my job. I am still not doing the job I believe needs doing and I have little or no control over it. That issue does not seem to be changing. I have no patience with, “What I have been through”. It is what it is and I can’t change that. I refuse to sit in a pity party for what I have been through. I am impatient, tired, frustrated and God knows what else. I was at Family Promise last night and I was getting impatient with a 5 year-old, and I was getting angry and fortunately was able to stop and think, “What is wrong with me?”. “This child is being a child and I am getting impatient with that?” My heart was filling with anger at myself and I didn’t like it. There is nothing wrong with this beautiful little child——it is me. I don’t like who I am or becoming. This needs to change. God give me your Grace! Apparently the Grace that is sufficient for me, I am rejecting? I do believe God is giving me all I need, so I must be rejecting/ignoring what it is He is offering me? This frustration is not from outside of me it is within me, God please help me! I honestly do not like who I am right now. I yearn for the peace I knew, a couple of months ago, when I could not sleep due to the medication I was taking. I yearn to be whole and holy. Lead me to where it is you want me to go.
I continue to hear, “You look great”, from people who I have not seen for a while. It is nice to hear and I know it is a way they are trying to encourage me. People have been incredibly kind to me and probably accurate in their observation of my appearance. We have all seen sick people, with cancer and without, who don’t “look great”! Frequently the ones I see are drawn, grey and sickly looking. My typical comeback to peoples’ observation of me is, “I should have got cancer 40 years ago”! I say this as a way to humor their observation, expectation and to deflect attention. Eventually I tell them, “I am fine”.
The truth is, I have lied, I am not fine.
First of all, in the big picture, I am fine! We are all fine in Christ. He is the Savior of the world and not just the healthy ones. He is Savior of the sick ones, wealthy ones, alive ones, Black ones, Asian ones or whatever “one” you may identify yourself as. We are all “One”, in Christ! He is the Savior of all and penetrates boundaries of race, culture, geography, life and death. He penetrates all the boundaries we have set up in our lives even the closed doors, as he did after His Resurrection to meet His Disciples. He has penetrated other doors like, persecution, rejection, crucifixion, physical limitations. In the past year I have become more aware that God’s desire and Christs’ coming to earth opened the boundaries of heaven and earth. What he offers us is something we could never earn. What he offers us is gift—–His Love with no boundaries. There is nothing that can keep us from the love of Christ. My/Our greatest challenge is to accept it as it is offered——-UNCONDITIONALLY!
This past year I have had to face all kinds of limitations or boundaries. Lack of energy, mental sharpness, ability to drive, ability to do “What I used to”, ability to say Mass and many others. The most shocking limitation of all is my lack of desire to play golf. I have played golf all my life and as often as I could. Presently, I have no desire which is the most shocking change. I believe this change is due to my lack of energy. Daily I continue to meet my limitations. I am getting better but I am still limited in the ways I have become accustomed to living my life.
The truth is, I am fine, I am limited and most importantly, I am loved by God! This is the truth, not just for me but for all of us, regardless of our health or lack of, our wealth or lack of, our faith or lack of. We are loved by God. Our being open to and accepting this TRUTH is our greatest limitation and it is self-imposed. We have a free will to cooperate with God and not to separate or overcome Him. God is limitless and boundary-less, when it comes to His love. We are not! We have set up boundaries, expectations, desires (sinful or not) that prevent us from simply accepting His Love. Sometimes people use the example of “Church” as a boundary to His love, shame on them and also shame on us. They Have not looked deep enough and we have not witnessed to what is deep within us enough.
We probably all struggle with our willingness to accepting His love because it does not fit with our vision of what it is supposed to be like. Remember Adam and Eve? They did not Trust Him either.
He’s got us! We are His! The temptation that Adam and Eve struggled with was “to be like gods”, not a fruit. Our struggle is similar as we try to be like “Christ”. Being like Christ means we accept our human limitations and trust in the One who made us and saves us. Our model is Christ who trusted in the Father, told us the Father and I are One, and He did this to and through the Cross. His trust went beyond the limitations of our senses and embraced, “Thy will be done”! That trust lead Him and leads us to freedom and eternity a limitless/boundary-less condition.
I absolutely believe that! I am not going to be here forever, none of us are. While I AM here I want to share His life that is within me with others. That life tells me that I am already living in His life and His fullness is yet to come. Even though I am limited, sinful, unworthy, fearful and powerless, I am still loved. That hurdle or boundary is traversable but not without Him.
“Similarly, from the Lord’s saying: Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God, we are to learn that blessedness does not lie in knowing something about God, but rather in possessing God within oneself.” (From a homily by Saint Gregory of Nyssa, bishop)
I am not fine; I am limited as are we all! Each day I must try to accept, be open to and “possess” God’s life in me. I have felt Him and it lifts me out of me and all my limitations. It unites me to something greater and limitless——-Him! Thank you God!
Secondly, I am grateful!! Many years ago I read a quote from David Steindl-Rast OSB (A Benedictine Monk), “The heart of prayer is gratitude”. This quote has stuck with me over these many years and it has continued to reveal its’ truth to me. As I look back over this last year I am mostly grateful. I really don’t think much about what I have been through, I think more about what I should have been doing and couldn’t. That is why I am grateful! Life and ministry continued on without me. I don’t like admitting that but it is true. Fr. Dan, the entire staff and parishioners served the people they could as best as they could. In most cases it was more than enough and in a few cases it wasn’t. That was not because I was not available, I believe that is the norm. We do the best we can but we will all meet limitations/boundaries. I am in awe of what people took on and incredibly grateful for their efforts. My limitations and the incredible outpouring of effort and prayer of others on my behalf have lead me to prayer and thus gratitude. Mass has so much more meaning for me now. Eucharist means thanksgiving. When we gather for Mass we gather to give thanks. Eucharist is the heart of the Church because we are, ”giving thanks”, in the most perfect way we are capable.
Finally, yes, my appearance is better than anyone would expect to see after 3 brain surgeries, 3 Gamma knife procedures, 11 Immunotherapy sessions and many Dr. appointments in a year. But as selfish as it sounds, I am not fine, I guess I need to be more honest with people and myself. I am saying Mass with some frequency, trying to be present to people, literally being driven to care for some of the sick (too few), trying to deal with management issues for 2 parishes and yet I feel and know I am not doing my job. In the last year I believe I have only done about 50% of my job. It is not a lack of interest or desire; it is a lack of energy. I am pretty good in the morning and then in the afternoon my energy begins to fade. In the evening when I have meetings, I am alert for about 45 minutes and then I begin to lose focus. I find I am not mentally able to follow the discussion and respond appropriately. I am anticipating a medication change and when that happens I am hopeful the energy level will increase. If that does not happen I have to come up with another plan.
Whatever the future is I am ok because I am with God. More accurately, God is with me! Daily, and sometimes hourly, I am meeting my limitations. As I am confronted with those limits my heart wants to do more but my body will not allow me. This is not just my issue. It is something that confronts many.