Medical Center Malfunction

I’m really ticked at my doctor’s office this morning. I raced to be there at the appointed time, 9 a.m., which is nothing to normal people, but to a night owl writer/musician is a feat of considerable magnitude. So at my customary two minutes late I checked in. 

“Oh. You were supposed to be here at 8:45,” she said.

“…I wasn’t. My appointment was for 9,” said I.

You see, morning hours are precious to me. I dole them out in penny-pinching, miserly fashion. So I’m not happy about this little faux pas. A word about accuracy: I wrote down the numbers as I heard them over the phone, repeating them out loud to their scheduler who, by contrast, was engaged in routine, monotonous activity and was tracking horizontal lines on a monitor during our conversation two days earlier. Seems to me the margin for error was wider on their end than on mine. 

I am offered no apology, no explanation, just, “No.” Ooh! Irritating. Oh, well. Little I can do about it. Clearly no one is going to budge. So I take the one remaining opening with a different provider, reschedule my day and make the best of being stuck for an hour and a half in a satellite town 20 snowy freeway minutes and several miles from my home. As if my injury needs added insult, I reluctantly make the appointment to [finally] get help with an ankle that has given me trouble for six months (I know: What’s the rush, right?), and I didn’t get up early enough to shave my legs or remove chipped, worn toenail polish. (It’s winter, okay?!) I suppose my humiliation could be considered punishment for both my laxness and my funky attitude.

So I am thinking about the anger I feel at being powerless to affect an outcome, and how I’ve been considering recently what it looks like to cooperate with what God wants to have happen on the earth: the “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it in heaven” part of The Lord’s Prayer. They seem sort of unrelated this morning, however this is the material of transformation on 21st century Earth. It’s likely there’s some connection.

“Breathe,” I tell myself. “Through the nose, in for 4; hold for 7; through the mouth and exhale for 8. Repeat 4 times. You should sense calm returning.” Check. It helps with the physiological mechanism, creating a feeling of peace, which is nice but hardly transformative. I suspect there’s more.

"For the Kingdom of God is ... living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 14:17 NLT). That's what God wants, at least as I understand it. And what might that look like while I'm fuming about a messed up appointment today?

Here's a truism: Nothing is wasted in God’s economy.  "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (Romans 8:23, NLT) So I decide not to waste either—not the time, not the energy, not the opportunity.

Instead I write. It’s actually great stuff for reflection on how God uses the events of our very ordinary, mundane-ness to promote in us Christ-likeness.

Then I forgive. It seems to take less energy to release our hold on anger than it takes to live in its constant presence, though that initial thrust consumes a good bit of fuel.

Finally, I say a prayer of blessing for greater accuracy and improved skill for whoever made the error resulting in the present predicament, even if it was me--which I don't think it was (just sayin'!).

To make a life of goodness, peace and joy possible, “My peace I leave you,” Jesus said.
Echoing that same sentiment in a musical prayer, composers Jill Jackson Miller and Sy Miller wrote, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me…” As near as I can tell, this is what that process looks like on days like this one, not the Utopian mush that comes dreamily to mind when some soloist transports us to a place above it all with his soaring baritone. Instead, it involves slogging through miscommunication and negotiation, the stuff of real gut-busting moments lived out in and by grace.
Oh. And perhaps worthy of note, when they took my blood pressure upon my return it was 30 points lower than it has been across the last two months of routine readings! Go figure.

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