Marking Time

For longer than I care to remember, I have been marking time, as it were: waiting for the ‘non-essential’ surgery that, when it finally came, relieved a difficulty I had had for a couple of years but unfortunately disclosed sarcoma; the further waits for additional surgery and now radiotherapy and the scans that will establish whether the suspected secondaries are growing or not. To myself it seems as though during all this time I have done nothing of any consequence. I haven’t even waited with patience as a good Benedictine should! Today’s feast reminds us, however, that an anxiety to be up and doing can be a form of pride or even avoidance of what is really asked of us. Activity is not in itself a guarantee that we are doing God’s work: it is simply activity. Sometimes we are asked to do less than we want to do or think ourselves capable of doing — humbling, but the only way to be a true disciple. It was the glory of Philip to lead others to Christ then stand aside, his work done; it was the glory of James to serve the Jerusalem Church then stand aside, that Peter might fulfil his universal role. If that is what the Lord asked of his closest friends, why should he not ask something similar of us?

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17 thoughts on “Marking Time”

  1. Praying for your ongoing treatment.

    You speak with wisdom about things that we all do. Displacement activity stops us facing the reality of what might be going on.

    I know that when I had my diabetes diagnosis a month ago, I tried to put it to the back of my mind and think that it was only a minor thing – but the reality check was facing the doctor and his confirming that the test results confirmed the provisional diagnosis – and the impact hit all at once. This disease killed my father in 1987 at age 63, a year younger than I’m now. So, I’m thankful for the time of good health until this disease came on.

    Now, having learned a huge amount in a short time, I seem to have been able to put things into perspective. Changes in diet and more exercise ‘pointless walking’ as someone has described it, has made a difference and my blood sugars are down within the just above normal category and have been so for two weeks. A huge relief, but no room for complacency. This will be a life long job of work, keeping things in balance, while thanking God for the medical advances, the wealth of expertise available and the medical professionals who will be responsible for my care from now on.

    It’s really up to me to conserve the physical health of the body that God gifted me with and use such gifts and time that remains to serve and this I’m fully committed to do. Not in displacement activity, but in service that hopefully, brings the Kingdom a little closer to us all.

    • Dear UKViewer , The hardest thing about a ‘pointless walk’ is leaving a home filled with seemingly more purposeful things to do. It was on such a day, early in the afternoon, that I stumbled into the path of a women crying inconsolably over the death of her son. We sat together for hours until the sun went down as she told me all about him. Then we walked together until we reached her home, and suddenly the pointless walk had purpose. When I arrived back home, the purposeful things that had almost stopped me going out became pointless and just necessary. So, I washed and tidied up, prayed for the lady and went to bed. May God richly bless you in your walks X

  2. There are times when Our Lord says “Stop. I want to sit with you. Be with you. Spend time together, just you and me.” How often are we too ‘busy’ to listen to His call? There are times when He calls us to action and times when He calls us to stop. Both have equal value but so often we only hear the call to do rather than simply be.

  3. Isn’t it absolutely glorious to be human, to kick and scream every inch of the way, to get it out of the system, and then to apologetically and tear stained quieten down ready to listen and be loved. No wonder we enter heaven like little children, even some of us on an all too regular basis.

  4. May I disagree about your “marking time”? What about all the help you have been and are to people on Twitter and Facebook ? Please give Bro Duncan a pat from me.

  5. This post resonates with me too as I remember the anxious waiting during my two breast cancer diagnoses and subsequent treatment and the feeling of being set aside from all I would normally have been doing. My thoughts and prayers will be with you as you wait, Sister.

  6. When I found out that I had cancer, I entered a sort of twilight zone where the future stopped. It felt like such a ‘raw’ time, while I felt so connected to all those suffering and so naked in front of Godde…
    Joining the community of prayer around you.
    In love, with love…

  7. Read recently a book by author named Vogt. He was re-looking at “patience” historically in Christianity. The reality is, that in the past people got sick and died rather quickly. Nowadays, we get old and manage chronic illness or become less abled for a much longer time unprecedented in history. Patience which has been seen as submissive uncomplaining endurance of adversity, he suggests, needs to take a bit of new meaning for our time. Being social instead of isolated is one suggestion Vogt makes. Recognizing the illusion of independence and receiving gifts of care from others; and Becoming a model of hope/endurance for others-is another. I think you demonstrate this, sister, and are the model of patience. Even resilient. And thank you for it. Blessings to you.

    • What Kelly Predojevic says is absolutely correct, it is something most of us have never thought about I’m sure….
      and yes, you are a wonderful example.

  8. I am so sorry to hear this…I took my dear husband for radio therapy as you know quite recently….it is a wonderful group of people…Like a big club full of hope and good humour. Dear Catherine it will make you very tired…but with Gods grace it can kill the sarcoma…..I have been praying and these prayers continue. Know how much you are loved by all those who read your words daily…

  9. I always fall back on (syrupy it may be), the” footprints in the sand”. It seems to me , in the simplest way , that when we really need the help of God, He, how well we know who, is quietly there.

  10. Beyond the clearly terrible situation of being slowed down /stopped outright due to illness, your blog post carries further: It reaches all those who are frustrated with unsatisfactory work situations, who would like to, and could, give a lot but for some reason are not allowed to, or those who feel (rightly or wrongly) full of energy but do not know where and how to deploy it.
    The prayer “Suscipe me Domine” does *not* mean God will turn one into a super-fit Commando Fighter for His causes with a life full of “sense” ahead.

    Thank you for this call to “get real”.
    Be assured of my daily prayers for you and the community.

    • Thank you. You got my point exactly. I was only using my own situation as an illustration because I think it is one many people can relate to and apply, mutatis mutandis, to their own situation.

  11. Our dear Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is a more recent example of standing aside. It somehow doesn’t seem right though when it is asked of us personally, does it. Prayers.

  12. Thank you for sharing your experiences/thoughts/prayers. I’m very grateful, and you know I pray for you all. However, Birgit has got my point and made it more clearly than I could have done. Do, please, read what she says about work situations, etc, if you haven’t already.

  13. Thank you Sister for this blog, it really resonates with where I am at the moment both at work and in my faith. I continue to pray for you and thank God for finding your wisdom on Twitter. I have realised a little late, that life is not about me needing to be perfect but about God’s ability and desire to use me however flawed I am, to do His will.

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