The morning found me in my office finishing up a few things for the bulletins, writing letters and seeing to various other details. By the time I needed to leave for Effingham to keep my rescheduled appointment my joints were - thankfully - feeling better.
My health remains generally decent, though my blood pressure was higher today than normal. It is always high and has been so for a long time. I have a naturally high blood pressure and my arthritis medicine helps to shoot it up even more. My doctor has prescribed an additional medicine that - if I tolerate it well - should do the trick.
Somewhere in the midst of our conversation we were talking about the parishes I pastor. My doctor knows the locations of my parishes and, in reference to my returning to him, said, "You like stability, don't you?"
I do indeed like stability, very much. And I have not had much of it lately.
In part, I answered him that because I have a rare form of a rare form of arthritis, it makes a great deal of sense to me that once I find a good doctor who understands my history that I should keep him, even if a large distance separates us (one hour and forty-five minutes really isn't too far) because it isn't worth having to explain everything again. He agreed.
Certainly, this answer is correct, but my desire for stability certainly also plays into it.
His simple question, posed as a humorous aside, set me thinking and pondering (it doesn't take much to do so). And drives at night don't hurt, either.
After the appointment, I had the oil changed in my car and took it for a wash before stopping by soccer practice for a bit. All the while my mind was working and memories filled my heart with longing.
Today finds me missing my parents, good friends, the ocean breeze, soccer games and practices, the classroom and a whole host of other things. And all the while I longed for heaven. I feel rather melancholic, which some see as something bad. I, though, always greet these feelings warmly, for they bring with them a certain sadness caused by love and the joy of memories past and of a future reunion.
Since the deaths of my parents those many years ago, I have tended toward melancholy properly understood. Here is an excerpt from a description of the melancholic personality that seems to sum up what I feel this night:
The melancholic looks at life always from the serious side. At the core of his heart there is always a certain sadness, 'a weeping of the heart,' not because the melancholic is sick or morbid, as many claim, but because he is permeated with a strong longing for an ultimate good (God) and eternity, and feels continually hampered by earthly and temporal affairs and impeded in his cravings. The melancholic is a stranger here below and feels homesick for God and eternity.There is something safe and comfortable in stability. I learned too young that this world passes away and so, in my own way, I seek to hang on to what can be held. A doctor - and such others - can be held on to, in a sense, and thus some little stability is maintained.
It is nights like these that I realize all the more that, in the words of Rich Mullins, "there's a lot of love locked up inside me I'm learning to give." It just takes me a long while to learn how to give it, particularly in new situations and with new groups of people.
It takes a great deal of courage to be open enough to let that love, the love of the Lord, be felt and known. It brings with it not stability but vulnerability.