Yesterday I was in the hospital having the second of what will be my quarterly iron infusions. When you call to confirm your appointment, they remind you it will take 5 hours (actually closer to 6) and to bring your lunch and a book or something to do.
So I eagerly packed a new book that I have been wanting to get into, “The Me I want to be” by John Ortberg and a pen and notepad to take notes, because I thought I would be able to take some of the insights and work them into a blog.
What I had forgotten from the first time, is that for the procedure you are connected to tubing–to infuse the iron, and cables and cuff–to track your blood pressure, and wires and a paper clip thingy–to read your blood oxygen levels. Holding a book and writing are a challenge. To make the challenge worse, my veins are hard to find, and with the cold weather they had withdrawn (the last time the complaint was that in the heat veins are hard to find because people are dehydrated–there is no winning, apparently). As a consequence the vein that was finally found was further up my hand and the needle felt like it ended at the point where my wrist bends. Holding a book was manageable, but holding a pen and writing caused a sticking into you type of pain…. as a consequence my plan to be productive was thwarted.
That’s okay, because what it gave me was time. Time to be. Time to snooze. Time to think. Time to ponder. Time to meditate. It was nice to have no particular agenda, and to just think about what I wanted to think about, talk with the people around me and get to know the nurse/specialist better. It was very comforting to have the same nurse as I had had in July. It made the whole long day seem a little like spending time with a friend. This time we got to know one another better, swapped stories about our grandchildren and talked about the inconsequential things that helped us get to know one another. I know that in February I will see her again, and that she will remember me and have all of my information at hand. There is a connection there, even if it is only professionally based and limited to those long hours in ambulatory care.
That lead me to spending time thinking about one of the things that Ortberg talks about in his book. He writes: “My main job is to remain connected to God.” That connection begins with relationship building. God knows us, he knows us well, after all he created us. But we don’t know God at all without beginning that journey of sharing stories, talking about the daily stuff of life, and sharing the deep, deep things that matter. In that process, we also learn more about who we are…. the real down deep us who we were created to be.
I have always taught and preached that our spiritual journey is about discovering and becoming the person that God created us to be. Ortberg talks about the same thing in this book, and I know that I am really going to enjoy discovering his view of that all important topic. For me, the more I am in touch with God and the more I know and embrace the person that I was created to be, the more I discover the power and joy that accompanies God’s blessing.
Ortberg points out that when we are connected with God, then everything else has a way of falling into place and that when we are not connected with God our vitality suffers and we become lesser versions of ourselves. That makes sense to me. When I am connected with God then my other relationships are better. I am kinder and more patient. I have more empathy for those who come to me for help. I am more able to speak the truth in love when the truth needs to be confronted. When I am connected with God, the spiritual disciplines that I undertake are a joy and they fill me with hope and confidence. When I am connected with God the Holy Spirit’s power is present in the work that I do, the sermons that I prepare…
The more connected I am with God, the more I know the person He made me to be, the aware I am of the life, the people and the needs that are around me. And the more effective I am at everything that I do.
This is not always true in my life, and boy do I notice the difference. I think I am really going to enjoy exploring this relationship between myself and God and finding out a whole lot more in the process of who God created me to be. Who knows where this could lead?