This morning, I read an interview of a physician who treated chronic kidney disease, who himself had been diagnosed 30 years earlier with diabetes. He was being interviewed about how his own chronic disease affected his treatment of patients. He is quoted saying, “Everyone needs to forget their disease for a while and think of other things.” I thought perhaps that this statement applies to more than just “disease.” It can apply to whatever negative that seems to dominate our life. A person who is recently divorced, or suffered a financial setback, or lost a loved one, etc. runs the risk of becoming the disease ( divorcee, widow(er), loser,etc. ). Instead my doctor suggests that we deny the situation – a little. We should not ignore what modern medicine has to offer, but no matter what, it is not the end of all possibilities. He quotes Yogi Berra, “ It’s not over till it’s over.”
The doctor counsels his patients to concentrate on the things that they can still do and develop new things. They are to replace what they have lost with something new. I am an avid supporter of the doctor’s advice except when it applies to myself. Then I seem to come up with reasons why it will not work. I run away and hide. Yet, God doesn’t “take no for an answer” very often. He continues to “shake my tree” until I come down from my hiding place into a world that’s full of new and fascinating discoveries. Amazingly if I allow myself to get caught up in something new, I am soon refreshed, and able to deal with whatever problem that was dominating my thoughts.
Christmas and the Advent season are certainly not negatives in my life. I love this time of year; and its traditions are firmly entrenched in my bones. Yet, in a new city and far away from old friends it would be easy to wallow in Christmases past. That is perhaps why I was “sent to the doctor” when I read this morning’s paper. I do not want to become “my past.” I need to develop new Advent traditions and find new ways to celebrate Christmas. After all, isn’t Advent a beginning not an end?
Your friend, Webb
Well said, Webb. I have a friend who is firmly rooted in memories of the hometown where we grew up, and in the “culture” of the 1950s (cars, music, furniture, friendship recollections, etc.). He lives here in Portland for about 6 months of the year, and when he is here he likes to convene lunches of the old gang of buddies that live in the area…. Each of those turn into sessions of recalling old stories. I go away from most of the luncheons I make it to a little drained, feeling like we collectively missed an opportunity to really connect as who we are today. Sad.