My New Year’s Resolutions aren’t quite as concrete as some peoples, but judging by how I spent the first full day of 2013, that’s just as well. There are many things I hope to do and accomplish this year, but not one of them is more important or stronger than the desire God’s give me to discern and live out the His will.
Putting God at the center and praying that He will plant His will in my heart and make it my deepest desire and most fervent longing is pretty much the extent of my planning for the year until I get specifics from the Big Guy.
God's Will, Not Mine
If I’d had my first day of the new year all planned out, I might not have been there for someone who needed a friend. After going to Mass on The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, I was listening to my voicemail messages. I’d received one from someone asking me to take her to Patient First. She sounded so awful I couldn’t recognize her voice, so I called back the number and asked who it was. (As I’ve learned from experience, if someone calls and is having trouble breathing, it’s best not to wait to get them proper medical attention. Acting immediately when my dad called saying he was having trouble breathing saved his life once.)
On Monday, I ended up spending the afternoon running errands, getting food and things for the friend while she was at Patient First. After hearing what she’d been told and what had been prescribed, I agreed we should go to the ER right away. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening in the St. Mary’s Emergency Room.
A Stroll Down Emergency Lane
As we were driving over there, it dawned on me that it was exactly 21 years ago on New Year’s when my nana, one of my favorite people in the world, went into that very same hospital. My dad’s mom had come to stay with us for Christmas and New Year’s. My dad, Nana, and I stayed up late the night before watching Home Alone.
The next morning, Nana was rushed to St. Mary’s Hospital in an ambulance. Several family members came and went with our house as the home base that month. My mom and I went several evenings to visit Nana in ICU. I wasn’t technically old enough to be in there at the time, but I looked old enough, so my parents had gotten away with sneaking me in for the past couple ICU visits Nana had miraculously made it through. My nana remained in the hospital for the month of January before she went to her eternal resting place.
Another Not-So-Fun Flashback
My friend was having trouble breathing after walking just a few steps which of course reminded me of how hard it was for my dad to breathe in the last few years of his life. Actually, a few of the medicines that they gave her in the ER were the exact same ones my dad had taken on a regular basis in an attempt to open up his lungs, calm his nerves, and allow him to function. The intense side effects of the drugs worried me, but they also opened my eyes to another aspect of the horror my father must have lived, having to take those meds several times a day for the last few years of his life.
The Good News
Fortunately, my friend was able to go home that evening, was given medicines that helped her breathe and get over this short-term difficulty. I didn’t go to bed New Year’s Eve or wake up New Year’s Day with a trip to the doctor or emergency room in mind, but when that’s what a friend needed, someone who doesn’t like to go to doctors or hospitals, in part because she doesn’t have health insurance, then my idea of the day changed immediately.
My friend’s sense of humor and gratitude even in the midst of feeling awful, the incredibly compassionate and caring nurse who took care of her, the huge prints all over of butterflies (a sign of hope for me for many reasons), and the way a crisis gets me to focus on who is right before me were all powerful reminders that God has, can, and will work through many circumstances and situations we don’t plan on, wouldn’t ask for, and may not understand this side of Heaven.