It was one of those days when things didn’t go as planned. A scheduled visit with a new patient didn’t happen. It’s my habit to confirm a scheduled appointment 24 hours in advance to remind my patients when I’m coming and give them the opportunity to cancel or reschedule. Although the time and date had been confirmed, when I got to the house, C denied any knowledge of my visit and didn’t want to be seen.
Anyone who owns a small business knows that time is money and if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. So now, there was a gap in my day that was too late to fill and I didn’t get paid. At this point, I knew I had two choices: get angry or turn this incident into something good. I chose the latter. Nearby was a church with a Eucharistic Adoration chapel and I went there for a Holy Hour. I even prayed for C who made the Holy Hour possible.
Often in life things happen beyond our control. They disturb our plans and the delicate balance we all try so hard to maintain. It can be something as irritating as a cancelled appointment or as devastating as the untimely death of a loved one. Regardless of the circumstance, we have a choice. Do we allow it to rob us of our peace or do we offer it to God and ask Him to use it for His good?
In my years of nursing, I have witnessed many people faced with challenges, suffering and death. In all instances, the people who cope the best are the ones who choose to believe in the providence of a loving God and understand that suffering is redemptive. While they consent to the proposed treatment, they also accept their illness with serenity, often providing the strength their families need. They have made a choice for the ultimate good.
Lest anyone think I cheerfully accepted the cancelled appointment and lost income, I didn’t. I was annoyed and my manner towards C, while professional, was cold. I had to figure out what to do and in my frustrated mood, the Adoration chapel was not uppermost in my mind; but by the time I arrived at the chapel, I was calm and had mentally filed the incident under the things-beyond-my-control category.
There’s two ways of dealing with challenges and setbacks in life: the way of Truth or the way of the world. In the short-term, following the way of the world, such as clinging to self-righteous anger, may seem instantly satisfying. In the long-term it leads to dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Choosing the way of Truth may bring its own set of challenges but ultimately leads to peace.