About three years ago I began to have some difficulty with my right leg. Periodically I would get severe cramps in it, unlike any leg cramps I’d ever had. Peripheral artery disease was ruled out in 2019. I didn’t get a diagnosis and I dropped the matter. In 2020 when the problem evolved from cramps to pain that was becoming more and more frequent, I decided to pursue this again. Knowing that I was likely going to be accepting a pastorate and wanting to get the procedure taken care of before moving, I got a referral to a vascular clinic. But there was a delay after the ball was dropped in the office where I had completed testing and gotten a diagnosis. Then, though insurance approved it, Medicare denied it. The day before the movers came in August to move me to Montana, where I had in fact accepted a call to serve a church, I received a call. The news? That Medicare had approved the process on appeal! Great—except that the move was about to ensue.
So, now established with a new doctor in Montana, I began the process anew. I got a referral almost immediately. The new office was extremely efficient. And, biggest surprise of all, the nurse practitioner spent nearly an hour with me! I got much more in-depth information than I had received in my pre-move appointment and was very impressed with the nurse practitioner.
I am reminded of the Sufi story “Good Thing, Bad Thing. Who Knows?” which I first heard years ago. The farmer’s horse runs away…oh no! Then it returns with a second horse….oh good! Then the farmer’s son falls off the horse and breaks his leg….bad thing! Then a war breaks out and the son is ineligible for the draft because he is physically not able….good thing! He doesn’t risk worse injuries or death.
I was so disgusted when I wasn’t able to get the surgery last summer. (Bad thing!) Now I am much more comfortable with the care I am getting. (Good thing!)
When we look back at our lives, we likely all can point to experiences such as these. In 2010, my position was cut from a hospice job I loved and expected to continue to retirement. I was truly devastated. But that led to my path towards ministry and a position I deeply love. And my hospice experience is valuable in this new vocation.
Ironic as some twists can be on our journeys, all these experiences contribute to the tapestries of our lives. Think of it as “irony as gift.”
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Hope’s Café Bonus: “No problem comes to you without a gift in its hands.”—Richard Bach