Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Learn to Dance with Disappointment!
I wrote these words in January of 2018 when I was going through my health issues with my spinal fusion and my A-Fib which was all happening at the same time.
The infection of the heart pericardium came later…as well as the bi-lateral hernia surgery! HA!
But not to digress…I wrote these words about my disappointment at that time, and how I would be “away” from the Parish for a fairly long period of time.
I think about the many Parishioners who are so disappointed today…the many weddings that have been cancelled or postponed, the number of loved-ones who have died, and families who are waiting for a Funeral Mass, proms cancelled, graduations cancelled, and all of those other special events in our lives.
I share this message, as a bit of hope…maybe it will help!
The last few months have been a real struggle for me. I have been “away” from the Parish since August 1.
What I thought would be a two- to three-month event is turning into a six-month happening.
I was originally scheduled for surgery on September 12. A few days before surgery, during my “pre-op” tests, it was discovered that I had A-Fib. I needed to see a cardiologist before I could have the spinal fusion. It was then determined that we could deal with the A-Fib after my surgery. Despite that decision, my original date for my surgery was cancelled, and I was now in the back of the line, the new date for surgery – November 9.
It was a real disappointment with which I had to come to terms. My plan was not to be as I anticipated.
I had to accept the fact that I would need to wait an extra eight weeks before surgery.
What was I going to do with this disappointment?
After an eight-week wait, finally, a 10-½ hour surgery, a spinal fusion, took place on November 9. Six days were spent in Thornton Hospital, and 17 days in the Remington Club, a Skilled Nursing Facility, in Rancho Bernardo, and then finally coming home to the rectory on December 2.
From November 9, until this weekend, and continuing into the future, I am now dealing with the healing process for my spinal fusion and my A-Fib.
What was I going to do with the slow pace of the healing process?
I took a leap of faith and decided to learn how to dance – to dance with disappointment and to dance with the slow pace of the healing process, and allow them to lead!
As a result, these months have been a very fruitful time for me personally, taking time to look at my life and my mortality.
Thanks to the support of Bishop McElroy, our very competent and dedicated STM Staff, the priests that have “filled in”, especially Fr. George Dunkley and Fr. Ron Kelso, and all of you, very committed Parishioners of our Faith Family, we continued to move forward as a Parish, attending to all the normal responsibilities and happenings of Parish life, and, yes, even undertaking a new Capital Campaign, “St. Thomas More: A Parish For All Seasons”, which will help us to complete our Parish build-out!
All this being done while I was navigating the Parish Ship from a distance… I am so pleased that I made a faith decision to dance with disappointment!
The healing process is taking place but much slower than I anticipated. I remember my surgeon saying to me, “Do not allow yourself to “mess” this up…this may be your last opportunity…follow the program…”
With those words, I made a faith decision to dance with the healing process and to allow it to take the lead!
The disappointment is over, the healing process continues, and I continue to dance. At this point, I envision coming back to the altar, which I miss greatly, in time for Lent on Ash Wednesday, February 14.
Let us continue to hold each other in prayer, and let us continue to dance!
After this health episode there were others, but I continued and I continue now to dance with disappointment. It is amazing where the dance will take you. We trust in the Lord…as St. Paul says: “All things work to good for those who love the Lord!
--Fr. Mike (January 2018)