Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What I Learned Today

"So why start a blog now?", you ask. To be honest, I really don't know what made a few days ago "THE" day to do it. But then today a few things happened that gave me the answer I was looking for. As a Priest, we get calls to visit people in the hospital. Most times these people are there for a few days, having some surgery, feeling under the weather, etc. But every now and then we get a call that asks whether we can come to the hospital right now. Today I had not one of those calls, but two.

The first one was to visit a 19-year old with lung cancer who may be the bravest kid I've met in a while. He's absolutely determined not to let the cancer win and he's facing chemotherapy with the same attitude that an athlete faces an opponent: staring it right in the eye and saying, "you won't beat me today."

When I left him I drove to another hospital where a parishioner was in Intensive Care after falling and hitting his head hard enough to cause some internal bleeding by his brain. He began the day like you or I, never expecting that in a few hours he'd be laying in a hospital bed.

What did those guys help me understand? We never know what will happen to us, whether good or bad, in the next few years or weeks or days or even hours. Now certainly if these men can face their situations head on, I can make a commitment to write some unimportant little blog. It's too easy to say, "I'll start my diet after the holidays", or, "I'll work out tomorrow", or, "I'll get to confession next week." To rip off the tag-line of Nike: JUST DO IT!

For the seminarians who read this, remember that at times like this no one will care what your grades were or what encyclical you read last. Nothing in a classroom prepares you for hospital visits; it only gets easier by doing it. In the end, the family may not even remember your name, but they'll remember that they called for a Priest and he came (even if he had the worst case of "bed-head" they've ever seen).

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